Gov. Greg Abbott, R-Texas, is leading former Rep. Robert Francis “Beto” O’Rourke, D-Texas, by six points according to a poll taken after O’Rourke announced his 2022 Texas gubernatorial bid last week.
According to The Dallas Morning News poll, 45 percent of Texans supported Abbott, while 39 percent supported O’Rourke. O’Rourke, who lost his bid for U.S. Senate in 2018 against Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, and desperately failed in his 2020 presidential bid, told CNN’s “State of the Union” that he still plans to confiscate AR-15s and AK-47s from all citizens if elected governor.
O’Rourke first pledged, during a 2019 Democrat presidential debate, that he would confiscate what he vaguely classified as “assault weapons” to combat gun violence.
“Hell yes, we’re going to take your AR-15, your AK-47,” said O’Rourke. “We’re not going to allow it to be used against our fellow Americans anymore.”
O’Rourke has referred to AR-15s and AK-47s as “weapons of war,” though neither are commonly used by the U.S. military.
Abbott responded to O’Rourke’s campaign, telling the former congressman to “bring it,” adding that the Democrat would defund the police, eliminate oil and gas jobs, implement open border policies, confiscate guns, and support “socialism.”
Gov. Abbott has battled with Joe Biden and Democrats throughout the Covid-19 pandemic, suing the Biden administration over their mandate forcing private businesses with over 100 employees to require workers to get vaccinated or lose their jobs. Abbott also kept Texas businesses open throughout the majority of the pandemic, unlike blue states throughout the nation.
O’Rourke has also tweeted his support of mask mandates for all children in schools, contrast to Abbott, who issued an executive order preventing mask mandates in the state, though judicial officials have attempted to fight the order.
The Dallas Morning News poll also revealed that a majority of Texans disapprove of the job that Joe Biden is doing in office. Only 42 percent of Texans approve of Biden, while 53 percent disapprove, according to the survey. O’Rourke, who endorsed Biden in November 2019, will face an uphill battle running as a Biden-supporting gun-control advocate in a red state.
O’Rourke’s challenge to Abbott comes amid the Democrat Party’s attempts to shift the Lone Star state from red to blue before the 2024 presidential election.