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(Bob Daemmrich)

Several hundred Austinites gathered in Republic Square Park on Saturday evening as gubernatorial candidate Beto O'Rourke stopped in Austin on his campaign trail.


The popular Democrat announced a run for governor on Nov. 15 and has since visited San Antonio, the Rio Grande Valley and other Texas cities before stopping in what could be his future home if he wins the November 2022 election.

As a blue city, Austinites showed great support for O'Rourke as he said he would repeal the most recent conservative laws, including abortion restrictions and permitless carry. He also took a jab at Abbott's handling of last February's freeze that affected thousands of Texans.

O'Rourke, a former three-term Democratic congressman from El Paso, gained steam as a political figure back in 2018 when he narrowly lost a race for U.S. Senate against Sen. Ted Cruz; he also ran in the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination before pulling out.

The candidate mentioned how when he ran for Senate, Texas saw the highest voter turnout in a midterm election and encouraged the crowd to get people to vote in the upcoming elections.

A supporter holds a sign in the front row at the rally.

O'Rourke poses with a young fan as many take pictures with him.

O'Rourke is up against Democrats Deirdre Gilbert and Michael Cooper in the primaries in March 2022 and if he wins, he could go up against Abbott in November; other Republicans running include Allen West, Don Huffines and Chad Prather.

In the latest University of Texas and Texas Tribune poll, 37% of respondents said they would vote for O'Rourke and 46% said they would vote for Abbott.

Next on his campaign trail, O'Rourke will stop in Sugar Land, Galveston, and Beaumont.

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