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Abbott's Sinking Poll Numbers May Give Beto an Opening

Axios reports ex-congressman plans to announce run for Texas governor later this year
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 19, 2021 3:43 PM CDT
Beto's Next Move May Be a Run for Texas Governor
Beto O'Rourke, right, listens to a volunteer in West Dallas Wednesday, June 9, 2021.   (AP Photo/LM Otero)

(Newser) – Beto-for-president fizzled. Maybe Beto-for-governor will work? Axios reports that former Democratic congressman Beto O'Rourke will announce a run for Texas governor later this year. A spokesman says "no decision has been made" but acknowledges that O'Rourke has been busy making phone calls. The Axios report says O'Rourke is leaving political allies with the distinct impression on these calls that he's going to try to oust Republican Gregg Abbott from office. A new poll by the Dallas Morning News suggests that O'Rourke—along with actor Matthew McConaughey—stands a real chance. The results suggest that while Abbott has shored up his position on the right thanks to his opposition to COVID mandates for masks and vaccines, along with the state's restrictive new abortion law, the governor is losing ground with moderates and women.

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  • The poll found that O'Rourke now trails Abbott by 5 points (42-37), down from 12 points only two months ago.
  • McConaughey, meanwhile, actually leads Abbott by 9 points, 44-35.
  • Abbott's approval rating in the state has shrunk to 45%, and his support among independents has dropped from 53% to 30% over the last year.
  • The state chair of the Democratic Party, Gilberto Hinojosa, tells Axios he thinks O'Rourke would be the party's strongest candidate. Abbott's "prohibition against mask and vaccination mandates have not gone over well with Texans," Hinojosa says. "And with the abortion law, Republicans have raised the anger level of Texas women higher than anyone has ever seen before.”
(Read more Beto O'Rourke stories.)

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