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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After months of speculation, a new report says political personality Beto O'Rourke is mulling a run for Texas governor that he will announce later this year.
Sources tell Axios the former congressman is preparing his campaign for the 2022 election, where he will likely vie for the position against incumbent Gov. Greg Abbott. The only other candidate that has announced he will take on Abbott for governor is former Texas GOP Chairman Allen West—no Democrats have announced they are running as of yet.
"No decision has been made," Axios reports David Wysong, O'Rourke's former House chief of staff and a longtime adviser, said. "He has been making and receiving calls with people from all over the state."
A new poll from The Dallas Morning News and University of Texas at Tyler shows O'Rourke is narrowing the gap between himself and Abbott's prospects for governor. In the poll, 37% said they'd vote for O'Rourke over Abbott, while 42% said they'd vote for Abbott.
Abbott has been in the hot seat due to his handling of COVID-19 and the signing of landmark legislation into law, including new abortion and voting rights laws; 54% of poll respondents voted they think the state is headed in the "wrong direction." Still, Texas hasn't had a Democrat as governor since the 90s.
O'Rourke's people-focused approach to the 2018 Senator race, which he lost to Sen. Ted Cruz, gave him a widespread following and many hoped he'd throw his hat into the ring since he said he was considering it earlier this year.
"We hope that he's going to run," Gilberto Hinojosa, the state chair of the Democratic Party, told Axios. "We think he'll be our strongest candidate. We think he can beat Abbott because he's vulnerable."
Austin rapper Jordi Esparza may not have won the 2021 Red Bull Batalla, the world's largest Spanish freestyle rap competition, but for a spirited two rounds, the 22-year old Mexican native looked like he had every right to.
On Saturday evening in Los Angeles, the event itself looked like Cobra Kai meets Star Search with graphics adding a very Batman Beyond aesthetic. Over a dozen rappers hoping to represent the U.S. in the international round of the competition took to the stage with in-your-face jabs at accents, sexual orientation and odors, among other things.
This was Esparza's second rodeo; he had placed third at the 2020 National Finals, automatically securing him a spot this year.
However, things were different this year. He was not nervous about the contest. Unlike in 2020, when he made his Red Bull Batalla debut, the anxiety of the event led him to "feeling so bad."
Affecting a casual calm, the locally-based landscaper said he just felt "so relaxed, so happy" and primarily wanted to "enjoy everything."
Choosing his first-round opponent, Esparza, whose stage name is Jordi, elected to go against LA-based Boss.
Esparza freestyled an attack on his opponent's weight and cholo style of dress.
Boss—bracketing his Latin freestyle with English appeals to the crowd—mocked Jordi's lack of education, made fun of how clean Jordi's shoes looked and suggested that Jordi just came back from a Footlocker.
That first round went to Jordi.
But his next opponent Eckonn would prove to be his undoing.
Eckonn compared Jordi to Hannah Montana, while Jordi soulfully explained that he had learned from the best.
Esparza's verbal dexterity is matched by a rattling rhythm and a game face that is as mawkish as it is mockish. The overall effect is that of an underdog with bite.
Eckonn beat Esparza in that round with the overall championship going to Palm Beach-based rapper Reverse.
However, Esparza was just happy to be there. He recently told Austonia going to the finals again was a dream come true—a pinnacle that he said he won't know how to top.
With his nimble jabs and sneaky prowess, honed from pop culture and the swagger of a young working man hungry to be more, Jordi Esparza is just getting started.