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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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Police have arrested one of two suspects involved in a mass shooting at Austin's Sixth Street in the early morning hours on Saturday, leaving 14 people injured and two in critical condition.
The arrest was made by the Austin Police Department and the Lone Star Fugitive Task Force. One suspect is still at large.
Police started receiving 911 phone calls at 1:24 a.m about a man that fired shots into a large crowd, and responded to a chaotic scene on the 400 block of East Sixth Street. Detectives are surveying video footage captured by bystanders and cameras on the scene to identify the suspect.
The Austin Police Department has narrowed down their search to two male suspects and believes there was "some type of disturbance" between the two parties.
No deaths have been reported. Fourteen victims are receiving treatment in a hospital in stable condition with one treated in an emergency room; two are in critical condition.
According to Interim Police Chief Joseph Chacon, "almost all" of the victims are innocent bystanders but police have not ruled anyone out at this time.
Shooting on 6th Street Austin Texas 6-12-2021 (Aftermath) youtu.be
The shooting occurred on the weekend of the Republic of Texas Motorcycle Rally. With lots of people downtown, police say it was difficult to get EMS in and out of the scene. Police arrived while the scene was still an "active threat," officers "immediately began lifesaving measures" and drove six victims to the hospital in their squad cars, said Chacon, and four were transported in ambulances.
Chacon said that the incident is believed to be isolated, and they optimistic they will be successful in getting the two suspects into custody. Multiple departments, including APD, the FBI, Texas DPS and the ATF, are involved in the investigation.
Austin police are also requesting state troopers for patrol assistance in the coming days. Chacon stressed staffing issues are increasingly making responding to emergency calls "very hard."
"Overall, we remain a safe city," Chacon said. "Also keep in mind when you come downtown, you need to be safety conscious. Be vigilant of your environment and your surroundings."
Today marks the five-year anniversary of the Pulse nightclub shooting in which 49 were killed and 53 wounded in Orlando, Florida. Anyone with information on the shooting is asked to call 911 or 512-472-TIPS.
This story was updated at 2:47 p.m. to include new information and will be updated as more details are revealed.
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Austin police are investigating a homicide in North Austin where a woman was shot and killed, just hours after a mass shooting in Downtown Austin hospitalized 14 people.
APD is working a suspicious death near the 1900 block of W Rundberg Ln. PIO is en route and will update with media staging location. PIO6
— Austin Police Department (@Austin_Police) June 12, 2021
Police originally responded to Ironhorse Flats Apartments, 1900 block of W. Rundberg Lane, at 3:20 p.m. when they found the woman with multiple gunshot wounds. She was transported to a local hospital, where she was pronounced dead at 4:07 p.m.
No one is in custody as of yet but police are speaking with potential witnesses. Officials said they believe this was an isolated incident with no danger to the public but said possible relation to the downtown shooting has not been specifically ruled out.
Officers could not provide a suspect description and the relationship to the victim is still unknown.
This is a developing story that will be updated as details become available.
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