November 18, 2021

Beto O’Rourke

“Democrat Beto O’Rourke said Wednesday he raised more than $2 million after announcing his campaign for Texas governor, showing an ability to still quickly pile up cash after coming off failed runs for the U.S. Senate and presidency.” AP News

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From the Left

The left is supportive of O’Rourke but acknowledges that he faces a tough election.

"[Governor] Abbott is vulnerable to a challenge, at least in theory, on everything from his handling of the pandemic to the blackouts to the law he recently signed banning abortions before many women even know they’re pregnant. Rather than manage the state through the crises of the last few years, he has preferred to invent new ones, while performing a Trump-lite role for the benefit of conservative TV audiences. A government that can’t even keep the lights on in winter is considering spending tens of millions of dollars to build its own border wall…

“O’Rourke, whatever the strategic wisdom of his recent political decisions, has proved his willingness to put in the work for his party and his causes. While his name wasn’t on the ballot in 2020, he threw himself into the task of registering and turning out voters in his state. It was a real political infrastructure he was building—Democrats had many problems in Texas that year, but turnout wasn’t really one of them—and one he was equally comfortable deploying for non-partisan uses…

“When the state’s power grid failed in February, a foreseeable crisis rooted in the state government’s history of deregulation, Cruz fled to Cancun; O’Rourke set up phone banks for Texans to check in on seniors and make sure they were okay… [It’s] a moonshot. But his party would be even worse off without him.”
Tim Murphy, Mother Jones

"O’Rourke’s presidential campaign in 2020 was [a] textbook example of how not to run, even in a Democratic primary. He veered far left, calling for the confiscating of guns (a position he would be wise to renounce). But judging from his announcement video, he may recognize the need to reset his political identity. He could be an example for other Democrats eager to regain footing nationally. If the election is about his position on guns, he will lose. But if it is about Texas’s self-image as a big-hearted, can-do and self-reliant state, he might have a shot…

“O’Rourke can elevate the values Republicans used to claim as their own. Is it pro-family to refuse to keep unvaccinated kids safe by barring schools from requiring masks? Is it pro-’small government’ to set bounties for women who seek an abortion after the legislature’s arbitrary timeline? Is it patriotic to make it hard to vote, especially for elderly and rural Texans? Is it pro-education to prevent schools from teaching about the Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. or to burn books?"
Jennifer Rubin, Washington Post

Some argue that "[2022] will be a hugely consequential election, and there’s a good chance Democratic donors will make the same mistake they’ve made in the past: Sending ungodly amounts of money to high-profile, long-shot candidates while ignoring races where those funds could make the difference between victory and defeat…

“If you really want your money to make a difference, donate to candidates for state representative in a swing state… could O’Rourke win? Sure, it’s possible. But if you want to get some real bang for your buck, it shouldn’t be a hard choice.”
Paul Waldman, Washington Post

From the Right

The right is critical of O’Rourke and his chances of winning.

The right is critical of O’Rourke and his chances of winning.

“It’s always intriguing when a well-known figure whom everyone understands has no chance of winning decides to run for office. I doubt even Beto’s under illusions about his chances. He’ll be running in a red state facing a massive red midterm wave against a Republican who’s more popular than the one he ran against in 2018 and who’s raised more money than any governor in U.S. history. Why bother?…

“If O’Rourke had waited to challenge Ted Cruz for Senate again in 2024, he would have risked being perceived as old news, especially having failed in his two previous statewide runs. The 2024 Senate primary could be a competitive one for Democrats, with no guarantee of Beto winning. This year’s primary is easier for him since no one else wants [to] face Abbott in a Republican-friendly cycle. Simply put, his political capital was depreciating. He could either use what was left of it for one more campaign or go bankrupt…

“Realistically, the best-case scenario for O’Rourke is that he raises a ton of money again, loses by a respectable margin, and is then targeted by Biden for some sort of national job either in the cabinet or at the DNC. Beto’s long-term challenge is staying politically relevant and another run for office advances the ball — albeit at the risk that he’s well and truly done politically if he gets blown out.”
Allahpundit, Hot Air

Beto O’Rourke is about to set a whole bunch of money on fire. Even in a bad year for Republicans, this guy managed to lose to Ted Cruz, who at the time was having trouble appealing to the GOP base due to past conflicts with Donald Trump. In that same election, now Gov. Greg Abbott won by double digits…

“On no planet, in a political environment that objectively favors the GOP by wide margins, is Beto going to be competitive. If Democrats were smart, they wouldn’t invest a dime in this race. There is no pathway for any Democrat, much less one who once bragged about taking people’s AR15s, to win statewide in Texas in 2022. No amount of dropping f-bombs on camera and skateboarding into low-attended rallies will change that.”
Bonchie, RedState

“O’Rourke raised $80 million in his unsuccessful bid for the Senate in 2018, and then raised $17 million for his presidential campaign. (A lot of O’Rourke’s donors are not Texas residents.) Perhaps O’Rourke won’t raise as much money this cycle, and maybe Democratic donors across the country are tiring of O’Rourke’s guitar-playing, f-bomb dropping, sweaty campaigning schtick. But every dollar that goes to O’Rourke’s heavy-underdog campaign is a dollar that isn’t going to more competitive governor’s races in Kansas, Maine, Michigan, Minnesota, Nevada, New Mexico, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin…

“O’Rourke may well duplicate his 2018 role, or the role Jaime Harrison played in South Carolina in 2020 — the guy who raises a ton of money because national Democratic grassroots loathe his opponent, and ends up losing in a deep red state anyway.”
Jim Geraghty, National Review

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