EL PASO, Texas (KTSM) — Hundreds of El Paso voters gathered at Deadbeach Brewery on Saturday in support of former Congressman Beto O’Rourke’s first gubernatorial campaign event in his native El Paso.
O’Rourke spoke to his supporters, criticizing Gov. Greg Abbott’s policies such as his stance on the southern border, women’s reproductive rights and the state’s electrical grid failure last winter.
“We have a governor that doesn’t trust Texas, he doesn’t trust border communities,” O’Rourke said. “If he did, we would tell him we don’t need walls or militarization, we want leadership.
O’Rourke also touched on policies he would enact as governor, highlighting jobs in Texas, education and expanding Medicaid, if elected.
This is the third high-profile political race O’Rourke has entered, previously running for a crowded presidential race in 2019, which he withdrew after eight months. Before that, he came within two percentage points against Republican U.S. Senator Ted Cruz in 2018.
He said he felt this time this race is different.
“Greg Abbott is a much different opponent, he owns everything that happened in Texas,” O’Rourke said. “The power failure, increase in your utility bill, his inability to make sure we have the jobs we want and need, that’s on Greg Abbott.”
Supporters reflected on O’Rourke’s speech, where he referred to himself as the “underdog” in this race.
“Everything he said is what I feel is so important, reproductive rights voting rights, healthcare, everything,” Deeanne Croucher said.
“I think he is saying things that will appeal to the majority of Texans if they just listen,” Bob Storch said.
O’Rourke said he felt he could appeal to all Texans, not just Democrats.
“Doing common sense things like expanding Medicaid, those aren’t things that Democratic party positions they are not Republican party positions they are Texas values so I don’t know that I see fellow Texas by a party or distinguished by differences that are meaningless, were all in this together and that’s how I’m running the campaign,” O’Rourke said.
He added he would be door-knocking in East El Paso on Sunday before he continues his campaign tour across Texas ahead of the March primaries.