Beto O'Rourke made headlines for his Whataburger antics and widespread following during the 2018 Senate race, which he narrowly lost to incumbent Ted Cruz. Now the Democratic former congressman is back, and mulling a run for Texas governor.
During a radio interview on El Paso's KLAQ "Buzz Adams Morning Show" earlier this week, O'Rourke publicly announced that he was considering a gubernatorial run.
"It's something I'm going to think about," O'Rourke said. "This State has suffered perhaps more than any other in the midst of this pandemic."
The El Paso native suggested the way the pandemic has been handled in Texas was at the forefront of why he would consider a run. El Paso has struggled greatly, suffering 1,681 deaths since March, a far cry from Travis County's 654.
"It is particularly galling to me … that El Paso, in one of the hardest-hit states, was, if not is, the hardest-hit city," O'Rourke said. "So many people dying so quickly that you set up 10 mobile morgues. You have to call in the National Guard to haul the dead bodies, and you have a complete indifference on the part of Gov. Greg Abbott to what local leadership, including our county judge, Judge Samaniego, are trying to do to literally save the lives of the people in our lives."
During an oil and gas meeting yesterday, Abbott responded to the challenge, saying he didn't think O'Rourke's policies would be welcomed.
"You're talking about a person who says they want to run for governor who said, heck yes, he's going to come and take your guns. Heck yes, he's for open borders. Heck yes, he's for killing the energy sector and fossil fuels in the state of Texas," Abbott said. "I don't think that's going to sell real well."
In an extensive Twitter thread, O'Rourke countered Abbott's statements with the death toll in Texas due to COVID-19. After eight Tweets, he closed the thread saying whether or not he runs for governor, he would do everything in his power to elect a responsible official.
According to a Texas Tribune report, Abbott is "100%" running for reelection but he may have sights set on a White House bid, saying "we'll see what happens."
O'Rourke may not be the only one to challenge Abbott in 2022—speculation says that Abbott may also find himself up against Texas GOP Chairman Allen West.
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As Texas gets ready to lift the mandatory mask mandate on March 10, food and bar workers gathered at the Texas Capitol to express their frustration with the lack of COVID-19 precautions without adequate access to the COVID-19 vaccine.The event, which began at 1 p.m. on Monday, was hosted by the Austin chapter of Democratic Socialists of America, Restaurant Organizing Project and The Amplified Sound Coalition.
Christa McWhirter<p>Crystal Maher, a member of the Restaurant Organizing Project, stands in front of the Texas Capitol to express to other protesters in attendance how not being eligible for a vaccine has impacted her ability to safely keep her job. </p>
Christa McWhirter<p>Kiara Collins, Eric Santos and Taylor Escamilla are all essential workers who have been questioning their safety in their workplace. As many of the other protesters, the three wore masks with the word "Expendable" on it. According to Collins, they were only given to essential workers in attendance to represent how they have been treated since the onset of COVID-19.</p>
Christa McWhirter<p>As Maher continues to introduce speakers, two essential workers who came out to support the protest, record as counter-protesters heckled the event's speakers.</p>
Christa McWhirter<p>Some of the counter-protesters in attendance were live streamers from InfoWars, an extremist organization, who heckled speakers until the rally dispersed. </p>
Christa McWhirter<p>A representative of the Del Valle Community Coalition spoke about the impact the lack of vaccine access has had on the Del Valle area. As she attempted to give her speech, anti-masking protesters yelled at her causing many people to attempt to block them out.</p>
Christa McWhirter<p>Protesters blocked the way of anti-mask counter protesters as they heckled the event's speakers and held "My Body My Choice" signs. "It's kind of insane how they're using 'my body, my choice.' It doesn't only affect you. So it's not just your body," Taylor Escamilla said.</p>
Christa McWhirter<p>Jeanette Gregor, cofounder of Amplified Sound Coalition, also had to fend off counter-protesters as she gave an impassioned speech about the danger essential workers place themselves in by going to work and have yet to qualify for COVID-19 vaccine. </p>
Christa McWhirter<p>Around 2 p.m., State Troopers began to arrive at the Capitol amid heightening tensions from protesters and counter-protesters. As police presence began to increase, the event came to end about 15 minutes later. Despite the constant back and forth between sides and the arrival of law enforcement, the protest came to end peacefully.</p>
The world has changed drastically over the past year, and South by Southwest, one of Austin's most beloved institutions, has, too.
After being abruptly canceled by the city last year, one week before it was set to kick-off due to the increasing understanding of the potential impact of COVID-19, it returns this year in a virtual format March 16-20.
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Austin Public Health will release first dose COVID-19 vaccine appointments on a weekly basis starting Monday evening. The specific days and number of appointments made available will depend on the weekly allocation from the Texas Department of State Health Services.
Previously, APH released first dose appointments on Tuesdays and Thursdays.
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