AUSTIN (Nexstar) — Former El Paso Congressman Beto O’Rourke announced Monday morning he’s tossing his hat into the ring for governor.

“I know that together we can get back to being big again,” O’Rourke said in an official announcement posted to all of his social media accounts.

O’Rourke is running against Deirdre Gilbert in the Democratic primary, and incumbent Gov. Greg Abbott isn’t the only Republican candidate.

He’s running against former Texas state Sen. Don Huffines and Lt. Col. (retired) Allen West in the Republican primary.

The candidates have all weighed in on several Texas-specific issues, including the crisis at our southern border and gun rights.


Being from a border town himself, O’Rourke admits the Biden administration could be doing more but said Abbott’s approach isn’t the answer either.

“We want to make sure that we follow the law, and that there’s order and predictability and safety at our border with Mexico,” O’Rourke said.

“What we don’t need is a governor who’s more interested in photo opportunities and grandstanding at the border and who actually incites the kind of fear and anxiety that leads to the attacks that we saw in El Paso in 2019,” said O’Rourke.

But, according to Abbott, the policies O’Rourke’s Democratic party supports have only contributed to chaos.

“If Beto O’Rourke is to be elected governor in the state of Texas, there will be no one standing up securing our border like what I’m doing every single day.”

Huffines said if he’s elected, securing the Texas border will be his number one priority.

“Not only am I going to finish Trump’s wall over hundreds of miles, but I’m going to enact Article 1 Section 10 of the United States Constitution, which clearly gives states the authority to do what they need to do to stop an invasion.”

West said his experience makes him the best candidate to address the border crisis.

“30 years ago, I was deployed to Kuwait to protect their borders. I think I understand border security, and also having been in the United States House of Representatives, I understand the legislative process,” West said.

“First and foremost you have to do is you got to get a stronger presence of our national guard down there to be able to be on these infiltration routes to interdict that flow, you’ve got to look at how you can use that border wall material that is down there and put it in the right places,” West added.

Gun rights

Following the mass shooting at a Walmart in his hometown, O’Rourke said in 2019 he was ready to confiscate Texans’ AR 15s and AK 47s.

According to Abbott, that doesn’t align with Texas values.

“He wants to go take your guns and deny you your second amendment rights. We will not let that happen in the state of Texas,” Abbott said.

When asked whether he plans to change his rhetoric to appeal to more moderate voters, O’Rourke said his number one priority is ensuring the safety of Texans.

“Like most Texans, I grew up in a household with guns, and I also grew up learning the responsibility of owning and using a firearm. We shouldn’t allow weapons of war to be on our streets and to see our fellow Texans shot up in Walmarts and movie theaters, in schools and in churches. We can protect the second amendment and protect the lives of our fellow Texans,” O’Rourke said .

Huffines and West agree with Abbott, calling O’Rourke’s stance on guns “the nail on his political coffin” and “anti-second amendment.”

Click here for more on O’Rourke’s announcement and for his first TV interview ahead of the announcement.