Democrats face a steep rise in Texas as O’Rourke mounts his gubernatorial bid

Beto O’Rourke’s entry into the Texas gubernatorial race on Monday delivered a dose of hope to Democrats, even as doubts linger about the party’s ability to gain ground in a state that has largely eluded them for years. years.

O’Rourke, a former congressman who rose to fame during his 2018 bid against the senator. Ted CruzRafael (Ted) Edward Cruz’SNL ‘slaps Cruz for labeling Big Bird vaccine tweet’ propaganda ‘on Sunday shows progress: Biden administration faces rising inflation McConnell won’t go to signing ceremony from the White House for the MÁS infrastructure bill (R-Texas) is already a proven fundraiser, and its campaign ad marked a major recruiting victory for Democrats hoping to compete aggressively against the governor. Greg abbottGreg Abbott Astroworld death toll rises to 10 after 9-year-old dies from injuries The Republican Party sees an advantage as redistricting comes halfway The abortion access crisis in Texas will only get worse without a federal action PLUS (R) next year.

But Democrats also face a long list of challenges in Texas. Former president Donald trumpDonald Trump Stoltenberg Says The Jan. 6 Siege Was An Attack On “ NATO Core Values ​​” Christie Says Her Only Regret About Preparing Trump’s Debate Is Catching The COVID Woman Who Invaded The Sea- a-Lake Trump deported to China MORE led Texas by 6 points in the 2020 election and made significant gains among many Latino voters. At the same time, Democrats saw their drive to seize control of the State House fail, while also falling short in their effort to oust the senator. John cornynJohn CornynSenate Republican Party Fears Trump May Derail GOP Majority Nomination Senators Call For Military Aid For Taiwan Amid Pressure From China ‘An Earthquake’: GOP Rises High After Tuesday’s Beating Of Democrats MORE (R-Texas).

“There is nothing wrong with saying that we are going to compete, we are going to be serious here,” said a Democratic strategist. “But when we think about where we should put the resources and where we are going to have the best chance of winning, Texas just isn’t at the top of that list.”

O’Rourke, who unsuccessfully ran for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination, will also surely face challenges of his own.

Not only is he facing a sitting governor with about $ 55 million in the bank, but he’s starting much later than in 2017, when he started his Senate campaign. At the same time, there are doubts that O’Rourke has the same appeal he did four years ago, when he burst onto the national political scene as a fresh face taking on one of the most despised bogeymen on the left.

The strategist also said O’Rourke is starting his campaign in a weaker position. A recent survey from the University of Texas / Texas Tribune found O’Rourke’s favorability rating is underwater among Texas voters. That same poll showed him behind Abbott in a 46 percent vs. 37 percent matchup.

“He is a good candidate. People know it. He is not going to have to spend the first few months trying to present himself, ”said the strategist. “I think, however, that with everything that is going on right now, it is difficult. Everything is something different from where we have been. “

In fact, Democrats are in very different territory than they were four years ago, when O’Rourke first ran for state office. Trump is no longer in office and Democrats now control the White House and both houses of Congress.

President BidenJoe Biden US Bishops To Consider Whether Biden Should Receive Communion Barrels Of Congress Towards Year-End Clash Biden Turns On Former New Orleans Mayor Landrieu To Lead Infrastructure MOREThe approval rating is under water, and polls show that more Americans believe the country is on the wrong path than it is on the right one. Furthermore, the ruling party almost always loses ground in midterm elections, meaning that Democrats are already facing historic headwinds in 2022.

The challenges for Democrats are also structural. The 10-year redistricting process is poised to give the Republican Party a significant advantage in the battle for control of the House next year. Last month, Abbott enacted a new map of Congress that would protect Republican rulers and lessen the political influence of voters of color, giving Democrats another hurdle to overcome in Texas next year.

In a video announcing his campaign Monday, O’Rourke sought to separate himself from the national implications of the gubernatorial race by speaking about the state’s power grid failure earlier this year. He presented that failure as evidence that elected officials had “abandoned” Texans in a time of crisis.

“It is a symptom of a much bigger problem that we have now,” he said. “Those in positions of public trust have stopped listening, serving, paying attention and trusting the people of Texas. So they are not focused on the things that we really want them to do, like making sure we have a working power grid. “

Democrats had been urging O’Rourke for months to challenge Abbott, and no other high-profile Democrats had jumped into the race. Mike Nellis, a Democratic digital strategist, praised O’Rourke’s campaign ad as a major breakthrough for Democrats, even if he faces an uphill battle in the race.

“Maybe I can’t win. Who knows! “Nellis tweeted.” But it’s important that Democrats compete seriously everywhere. Build the bench and strengthen the party. Glad he runs, wins or loses. “

In a possible nod to the challenges facing Democrats in Texas next year, O’Rourke is set to run his first campaign in South Texas, a predominantly Hispanic party from the state where Biden underperformed during the US presidential election. 2020.

But even as O’Rourke prepared to launch the election campaign Monday, Texas Democrats received bad news. State Representative Ryan Guillen, who represents a South Texas district, announced that he would leave the Democratic Party to become a Republican, saying his values ​​”are no longer in tune with the Democratic Party of today.”

Of course, Guillén’s change may have a key advantage. Under the new political maps of Texas, his district is much more favorable to the Republican Party.

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