Former Rep. Beto O’Rourke is preparing to run for governor of Texas in 2022, with an announcement expected later this year, Texas political operatives tell Axios.
Why it matters: O’Rourke’s entry would give Democrats a high-profile candidate with a national fundraising network to challenge Republican Gov. Greg Abbott — and give O’Rourke, a former three-term congressman from El Paso and 2020 presidential candidate and voting rights activist, a path to a political comeback.
- But he would be running in a complicated political environment. Immigration is surging at the southern border and Democrats at the national level are bracing for a brutal midterm election and potentially losing the House of Representatives in 2022.
- A new poll for the Dallas Morning News shows that O’Rourke has narrowed the gap with Abbott in a hypothetical matchup, down, 37%-42%. In July, O’Rourke faced a 12-point deficit, 33%-45%.
- Over the summer, Abbot has seen his approval rating sink to 41%, with 50% disapproving, in a separate poll.
Driving the news: O’Rourke has been calling political allies to solicit their advice, leaving them with the impression that he’s made his decision to run in the country’s second-largest state.
- “No decision has been made,” said David Wysong, O’Rourke’s former House chief of staff and a longtime adviser. “He has been making and receiving calls with people from all over the state.”
The big picture: In addition to deep cultural differences on how to respond to COVID-19, many of the contentious issues dividing the country seem to be bigger in Texas, with raging debates on abortion rights and border security flaring across the state.
- Abbott championed a law, which the Supreme Court declined to strike down, to criminalize abortions six weeks after conception, enraging progressive activists and potentially suburban women.
- He has also stoked cultural divides on COVID-19 and used executive action to try and prevent local jurisdictions from imposing mandates for masks or vaccines.
- On the border, Abbott has called for six points of entry in Texas to be closed and has blamed the Biden administration for the growing humanitarian crisis in Del Rio, where thousands of migrants are seeking shelter underneath a bridge.
What they are saying: “We hope that he’s going to run,” Gilberto Hinojosa, the state chair of the Democratic Party, told Axios. “We think he’ll be our strongest candidate. We think he can beat Abbott, because he’s vulnerable.”
- “His prohibition against mask and vaccination mandates have not gone over well with Texans,” Hinojosa said. “And with the abortion law, Republicans have raised the anger level of Texas women higher than anyone has ever seen before.”
By the numbers: While Democrats insisted that 2020 could be the year that Texas might turn blue and vote for its first Democrat for president since 1976, President Trump won that state with 52%, the same as his 2016 margin.
- Trump captured 1.2 million more votes in 2020, for a total of 5.8 million.
- In 2018, O’Rourke lost to Sen. Ted Cruz, 51% to 48%, by a margin of some 215,000 votes.
Video: Rhode Island Teacher Warns CRT ‘Absolutely Everywhere’ In Schools
“It’s in the plot narratives; it’s in the characterization; it’s in the imagery, it’s in the art projects, the history class, the English classes.”
A middle school English teacher in Providence, Rhode Island has warned that critical race theory, which teaches children they should feel guilty for being white, is “absolutely everywhere” in schools in the area and that it is causing “great harm and racial divide and hostility between children.”
Ramona Bessinger described to RT host Steve Malzberg how she has been barred from giving classes for speaking out against her school district’s “radicalized” CRT “culture”, noting that there used to be “lots of diversity [and] lots of multicultural materials” in the curriculum, but now its essentially all CRT.
“We’re not teaching critical race theory. It’s implicit in the culture,” Bessinger explained, adding “It is implicit in all the reading materials. It is implicit in all the projects that the kids are doing.”
“It really has to stop,” she urged, adding “It’s in the plot narratives; it’s in the characterization; it’s in the imagery, it’s in the art projects, the history class, the English classes.”
“It is in the language that we are told to use in our professional development,” the teacher further warned, adding. “It is absolutely everywhere.”
“Just to speak to the fact that our libraries are being dismantled and books are being moved into archaic basement rooms around the school or flat-out thrown out,” Bessinger emphasized, adding “there’s a whole shift taking place and we really need to pay attention to this.”
She ominously added, “I don’t believe we’re going to recognize our country if this is allowed to take place because the culture is changing from within our schools and it’s changing rapidly.”
“Once they turn children against you and kids start believing this narrative that you are somehow racist, then it’s over,” she further warned.
Leftists are adamant that CRT is not being taught in schools, as the following video highlights. However, as Ramona Bessinger points out, it doesn’t have to officially be on the curriculum to exist in schools.
Large LA crowd protests against vaccine mandate
Thousands gather outside Los Angeles City Hall Monday to protest the mandate for all city workers to get vaccinated against COVID-19 by Dec. 18.
The vaccine requirements for city workers are meant to increase vaccination rates and stave off another deadly COVID-19 surge as the virus continues to circulate and the more-transmissible delta variant spreads.
The group Firefighters 4 Freedom organized the rally, dubbed “A March for Freedom,” saying it will be attended by firefighters, police officers, electrical workers, sanitation workers and city government employees.
Aerial video from Sky5 showed a large crowd of people gathered in the area of 200 Main St. around 11 a.m., many carrying “thin blue line” and “thin red line” flags, and signs including ones saying “stop the mandate.”
Retried LAPD Detective Moses Castillo was attending the rally.
“I’m here to show support for the men and women in law enforcement, the firefighters, those working in sanitation… who are here not so much against being vaccinated, or the vaccine, but they’re against being forced to do so by our local government,” Castillo explained.
John Knox, of Firefighters 4 Freedom, called the mandates unconstitutional.
“That’s an overreach on the government’s part, because it’s not your right to tell me what I do with my health care, what I put into my body,” Knox said.
A flyer for the rally calls for participants to speak out against both local mandates and federal ones.
The Biden Administration last week announced that Americans working at companies with 100 or more employees will need to be fully vaccinated by Jan. 4, or get tested for the virus weekly.
In L.A., Mayor Eric Garcetti warned that city employees who don’t get vaccinated by Dec. 18 “should be prepared to lose their job.”
The L.A. City Council in August passed an ordinance requiring all city employees to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19, unless they are granted an exemption for medical or religious reasons.
The deadline for L.A. workers was initially set for an earlier date, but was extended by the city council to give unvaccinated workers more time to comply.
The ordinance states that the requirement is meant to protect the city’s workforce, and the public that it serves, against COVID-19, which was responsible for 26,750 deaths countywide.
The Los Angeles firefighters union last week voiced their opposition to the city’s mandate, saying officials should allow firefighters to choose between getting the shot or tested weekly.
Members of United Firefighters of Los Angeles City President Freddy Escobar warned that the L.A. Fire Department is already facing staffing shortages that could worsen as a result of the mandate, the L.A. Times reported.
11/3: AZ Gubernatorial Candidate Kari Lake Leads AZ Election Integrity Rally
Arizona Gubernatorial candidate Kari Lake will host a rally tomorrow at 6 p.m. tomorrow in Glendale, Arizona and we will hear from some of the Patriots who have led the fight for the truth.
Get tickets, here.
Appearances or videos will be made by Candidate for Arizona Secretary of State Mark Finchem, Liz Harris, Arizona State Senator Wendy Rogers, Arizona State Senator Sonny Borrelli, Christina Bobb, Mike Lindell, Congressman Paul Gosar, and more!
Lake has a message from a “very, very special someone”, named President Donald J. Trump.