Texas Monthly confronted former presidential and Texas gubernatorial candidate Beto O’Rourke with his unpopularity after the Democrat announced he is a launching a campaign against Gov. Greg Abbott, R.
O’Rourke enjoyed widespread support from progressives when he first hit the national scene and announced a run for the Senate against Sen. Ted Cruz. But in the latest survey from the University of Texas at Austin and The Texas Tribune, just 35% of voters rated O’Rourke favorably, while 50% rated him unfavorably.
“Abbott’s popularity has waned, but you enter the race even less popular,” Texas Monthly’s Jonathan Tilove said to O’Rourke after he announced his run. “Unlike in 2018, you are now a well-known and polarizing figure, and the Abbott campaign will make sure Texans repeatedly hear the statements you made when you ran for president that put you to the left of most Texas voters. Will those define you negatively?”
O’Rourke responded by arguing the campaign is not about him but the people of Texas, before listing some of what he described as his bipartisan accomplishments.
“I don’t think this will be much of a campaign if it’s about me,” O’Rourke said. “I think it really has to be about Texas. It has to be about all of us.”
Without directly addressing his poor poll numbers, O’Rourke said he had a record of creating high-wage, high-value jobs as a small business owner, and touted having passed the Honor Our Commitment Act while serving in Congress, a bill intended to expand mental health care for combat veterans.
But the outlet also asked O’Rourke to explain how he planned to “overcome” the drop in approval for President Joe Biden and the low expectations for Democrats in the midterms.
“Midterm elections are historically bad for the party in the White House. President Biden’s favorables are underwater here, with only 35 percent of Texans approving the job he’s done,” Tilove said.
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