Reports that broke earlier tonight that Beto O’Rourke wouldn’t run for Governor of Texas in 2022 were premature, according to sources close to O’Rourke and Beto himself.
O’Rourke issued a statement shortly after the initial story broke that said “What I said today is what I’ve been saying for months: I’m not currently considering a run for office. I’m focused on what I’m doing now (teaching & organizing). Nothing’s changed & nothing I said would preclude me from considering a run in the future.”
That’s a pretty definitive response from O’Rourke, and we’ve also heard from sources close to him who confirmed that his focus right now is on his teaching responsibilities and the organizing work he continues to do alongside Powered by People, but that O’Rourke hadn’t even begun to think about a potential race against Governor Greg Abbott, much less ruled one out.
O’Rourke’s focus on organizing comes at a pivotal time for Texans, as the state continues to struggle with the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic and millions of Texans continue to recover from the deadly winter storms that wreaked havoc on the state.
After O’Rourke and Powered by People built a massive organizing infrastructure in the 2020 election cycle that included 75 million contact attempts, its focus shifted to responding to those two disasters, stepping into a leadership void left by Abbott and the state government in the immediate aftermath of the storm.
In the weeks since the winter storms first struck, O’Rourke has traveled extensively throughout the state and leveraged Powered by People’s activist base to make calls to at-risk Texans to connect them to resources at a time when the response from the state government was almost non-existent.
That work followed and coincides with the group’s continued efforts to help Texans access Covid-19 vaccinations, as the state continues to struggle with distribution in large swaths of the state.
Questions about O’Rourke’s interest in the race have continued to swirl as he’s maintained a visible leadership role that has often put him at odds with Abbott, whose approval ratings have declined in the wake of removing the mask mandate in Texas and badly botching the state’s response to the winter storms.