Beto O'Rourke, who has previously mounted unsuccessful campaigns for the U.S. Senate and the White House, has now announced his Texas gubernatorial bid.
O'Rourke served as a member of the U.S. House of Representatives from early 2013 until early 2019. He failed to defeat incumbent GOP Sen. Ted Cruz during the 2018 senatorial contest. Then in 2019, O'Rourke pursued a presidential bid, but he dropped out later that year.
If O'Rourke successfully clinches the Democratic nomination to run for governor, winning a general election would likely prove to be a difficult task since Democrats have not won a gubernatorial election in the state since 1990.
Former President Donald Trump won the state during the 2020 presidential election contest, continuing a long-time Republican winning streak — but the last time a Democrat took Texas during a presidential contest was more than four decades ago in 1976.
"Bring it," Lone Star State Gov. Greg Abbott tweeted. The Republican governor said that O'Rourke desires to "defund the police," "kill good paying oil & gas jobs," "allow chaotic open border policies," "support the failing Biden agenda," "impose socialism," and "take your guns."
Abbott has served as the state's governor since early 2015.
"Most of us understand the responsibility that comes with owning a firearm, and we will vigorously protect that Second Amendment right and also protect the lives of those around us," O'Rourke told The Texas Tribune. "But I think most of us also understand that we should not have military-style weapons used against our fellow Texans. We have four of the worst mass shootings in U.S. history right here in Texas that took place over the last five years."
During his presidential bid, O'Rourke advocated for a mandatory government buyback program for some firearms.
"Hell yes, we're gonna take your AR-15, your AK-47," O'Rourke said in 2019.