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Beto O’Rourke, the former congressman and former presidential candidate, announced Monday that he is running for the position of governor of Texas.

“I am running for governor and I want to tell you why,” O’Rourke says in a video message. It begins by remembering the anger, fear, and frustration when the state power grid went down, leaving Texans without heat in freezing temperatures.

“Those in positions of public trust have stopped listening, serving and paying attention to – and trusting – the people of Texas,” He said.

Beto O’Rourke
(@BetoORurke)

I am running for governor.

Together, we can overcome the small, divisive politics we see in Texas today and return to the big and bold vision that once defined Texas. A Texas big enough for all of us.

Join us: https://t.co/eMY5wwf6an pic.twitter.com/yrG1WOkpqk


November 15, 2021

The long-awaited announcement comes after O’Rourke energized the state’s young liberal voters in a hard-fought but ultimately unsuccessful bid for the Senate in 2018.

O’Rourke, a national figure with a small dollar fundraising behemoth, enters the race as a formidable opponent of incumbent state governor Greg Abbott. Actor Matthew McConaughey he was shy about a potential run for governor, although it is unclear whether he would run as a member of a political party or as an independent.

Texas has traditionally been a conservative state, and largely remained so in 2020, despite massive investments by Democrats. But demographic change and population growth are reshaping state politics, the changes O’Rourke captured in his 2018 run, which convinced many. Democrats the state was on the verge of turning blue.

Texas has become the zero point in the fight over abortion rights and voting rights, as the state’s conservative majority and governor push some of the nation’s toughest and most restrictive laws. A Texas law taken up by the Supreme Court effectively prohibits abortion in the state.

In the video, O’Rourke condemns what he calls the state’s “extremist policies” republicans. “It’s a really small vision for such a big state, but it doesn’t have to be that way,” he said. “And I know that together, we can be great again.”

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