Former Rep. Beto O’Rourke (D-TX) has become a political punchline in some circles — and he appears poised to give Americans across Texas and beyond another opportunity to laugh at his expense.
Signs point to a likely O’Rourke campaign to challenge GOP Gov. Greg Abbott next year, but early polling numbers seem to predict it would result in his third electoral defeat in as many election cycles.
O’Rourke the fundraiser
According to the Washington Examiner, his potential loss in the upcoming gubernatorial election would follow his failed 2020 presidential bid and his 2018 loss to U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX).
In an exclusive “scoop” on Sunday, Axios reported that the former congressman’s campaign is all but certain.
O’Rourke would provide Democrats with a “high-profile” challenger to Abbott with the name recognition and fundraising ability needed to reach donors in Texas and nationwide.
His candidacy would also provide a stark contrast to Abbott’s policies and positions on a variety of issues including abortion, COVID-19, gun rights, illegal immigration, and voting rights, among others.
Nevertheless, all the early indicators show that any path to the governor’s mansion for O’Rourke would be rocky. Those challenges would likely be made greater by the fact that next year’s elections are expected to be generally more difficult for Democrats across the board.
An unpopular candidate
In a recent poll of 1,148 adults, the University of Texas-Tyler and the Dallas Morning News found that the political climate does not bode well for O’Rourke, at least at the moment.
Public approval for Abbott has reportedly slipped, though he is still above water by a 45-44 margin. O’Rourke, on the other hand, had a dismal 34% approval rating — eight points lower than those who view him unfavorably.
In a hypothetical matchup between Abbott and O’Rourke, 42% of respondents picked the incumbent while 37% sided with the Democratic challenger. More than 2 in 10, however, noted that they would opt for someone else.
Despite the odds, O’Rourke appears to hope that the third time is the charm.
When it is all over, there is a good chance that this will have been yet another instance of Democrats investing tens of millions of dollars only to see their hopes dashed once again by the fiery yet fundamentally unpopular former congressman.