Axios reports that former Rep. Beto Orourke plans to run for Texas governor in 2022. However, a poll has shown that the Republican Governor faces a tough battle against the former presidential candidate and Senate candidate. Greg Abbott, but Matthew McConaughey, actor, could have had a better chance.
Beto O'Rourke, a former U.S. Rep. speaks at a rally held at the Capitol in Austin on June 20, 2012. Getty Images
The Key Facts
Axios quotes unnamed Texas political operatives as reporting that ORourke is preparing to run for the gubernatorial elections. 42% of Texas registered voters would support Abbott, while 37% would vote for ORourke. This is a significant increase from the 33% who said they would vote for ORourke in July's poll, and 45% for Abbott. Surveys were conducted between September 7-14 among 1,148 voters. 44% of those polled said they would vote for McConaughey while 35% said they would support the current governor. McConaughey beat Abbott in April with 45%, but Abbott won the July poll with 39% to McConaughey's 38%. McConaughey supporters overwhelmingly (48%) stated that his honesty and willingness to tell it as it is was what made them want him to be their candidate. Abbott supporters, on the other hand, were more likely to value the Republican shares of [their] values (35%) than McConaughey supporters who said it was the best quality. McConaughey's support was driven mainly by Democrats, with 65% saying they would back him, against 44% of Independents (and 26% of Republicans). However, the actor has not stated that he is affiliated with any party and described his views as being aggressively centric.
54%. This is the percentage of Texas voters who believe things are heading in the wrong direction, according to the poll. 44% agree with this assessment.
Gilberto Hinojosa, chair of the Texas Democratic Party, said that we hope [ORourke] will run. Hell is our strongest candidate, we believe. Because he is vulnerable, we believe he can defeat Abbott.
What to Watch
McConaughey is not yet committed to running for gubernatorial office. In May, McConaughey said that he was considering the idea but hadn't yet decided what his next steps would be. However, the Sunday Times reports that political consultants were present at McConaughey's recent barbecue in September. The actor has not made any public comments on his gubernatorial plans over the past months, but he wished Abbott well in August after the Republican governor contracted Covid-19. He tweeted that he was happy Abbott had tested negative and thanked the governor for acknowledging that the vaccine you received made your illness mild.
Axios sources unnamed said that the ex-Texas congressman was preparing to run. However, David Wysong, an ORourke advisor and former House Chief Of Staff, told the outlet that there is no decision regarding ORourke's candidacy. Wysong stated that he has been receiving and making calls with people all across the state.
The Texas poll comes at a time when Abbott has come under increasing fire in recent weeks. Since September 1, the state's near-total ban against abortion has become a national scandal. On September 1, the governor signed new voting restrictions that were opposed by Democrats in the state. After banning vaccine and mask mandates, the GOP leader has come under fire. Another Morning Consult poll showed that Abbott's approval rating was 48%. This is similar to the Dallas Morning News poll's 45%. However, Abbott's approval rating has been less affected by the governors lax approach regarding Covid restrictions than his voting and abortion laws. His approval rating has remained virtually unchanged since those policies were adopted or put into effect. A Dallas Morning News poll showed that 55% of voters disapprove of Abbott's ban on mask mandates. However, 49%-49% split voters were divided on whether or not they supported the governor's ban on vaccine mandates. If McConaughey wins the gubernatorial race, or ORourke wins the gubernatorial election as an Independent or Democrat it would be the first time Texas has had a governor other than a Republican in over 25 years. Ann Richards resigned in 1995. However, a shift in power from the GOP may be more likely now that the state has become more purple over recent years.
The poll revealed that Texas voters are almost evenly split on abortion as the state is under scrutiny for its restrictive abortion law. It bans abortions within six weeks. The landmark Roe v. Wade abortion ruling should not be overturned by a narrow majority of respondents. This would allow for the right to abortion to continue in force, 48% believed it should.
Scoop: Texas Governor's Race (Axios).
Abbott's right turn deflates GOP competitors but opens the door for ORourke and McConaughey: News/UT Tyler poll (Dallas Morning News).
Texas's Abortion Ban and Voting Restrictions Haven't Hurt the Gov. Greg Abbotts Approval Rating, Poll Finds (Forbes)
Matthew McConaughey's best-selling memoir reveals why he could become Texas' next governor (Forbes).