SAN ANTONIO (Fwrd Axis) — Democrat Beto O’Rourke made his first official gubernatorial campaign stop on Tuesday and slammed Texas Gov. Greg Abbott for what he called “extremist policies” that don’t reflect the state’s priorities.
Speaking from the Communication Workers of America Local 6143 in San Antonio, O’Rourke spoke to a crowd about why is running for the highest office in the state. Every time the former congressman paused, cheers were heard and honking was heard.
“We’re going to get back to the big things again that unite us, that bring us together and get us past the division, the smallness, the meanness of this moment,” O’Rourke said.
The former congressman from El Paso called Abbott’s views on abortion “extremist”, slamming the Republican governor’s support of SB 8, a law passed by the Texas Legislature that bans all abortions in Texas. The law prohibits abortions after six weeks of pregnancy, which is before most women even know they are pregnant. It also prevents anyone from helping a woman seek an abortion.
“This places a bounty on the heads of every woman in this state who wants to make her own decisions about her own body and for her own future,” O’Rourke said.
O’Rourke also spoke out against the controversial “Constitutional Carry Law“, which allows anyone 21 years or older, who isn’t prohibited from having a firearm, to carry a handgun without a license.
O’Rourke announced he was running for governor on Monday and will head to Laredo, McAllen, and Corpus Christi before hosting his official campaign kickoff event in Houston on Friday.
The fight for the former El Paso congressman will be tough as Abbott has a high approval rating among Republicans and an endorsement from former President Donald Trump to go along with millions already raised for his re-election efforts.
Republicans have spent millions in fundraising money in South Texas, hoping to use the national news regarding immigration to their advantage. O’Rourke told reporters after Tuesday’s event that his campaign is not going to be about a singular issue but acknowledged the Democrats need to do more to address the issue.
“If the great sin committed by Republicans historically has been to disenfranchise voters, including those in the Rio Grande Valley, then that committed by the Democrats has been to take those same voters for granted in the past,” O’Rourke told reporters. “We should never assume or predict how anyone is going to vote based on their ethnicity or their race or how others who look like them and speak like them have voted in the past.”