Former Rep. Beto O’Rourke announced Monday that he is running for governor of Texas, aiming to become the first Democrat to lead the state since the early 1990s. Next year’s contest will be the third consecutive election cycle in which he’s pursued a bid for a major office, and could potentially be his third consecutive loss.
During an appearance on CNN’s “State of the Union,” O’Rourke was questioned by host Dana Bash if he stands by the pledge he made during a Democratic presidential debate in September 2019.
“I still hold this view,” he insisted in the Sunday interview.
“Look, we are a state that has a long, proud tradition of responsible gun ownership. And most of us here in Texas do not want to see our friends, our family members, our neighbors shot up with these weapons of war. So yes, I still hold this view,” O’Rourke stated.
O’Rourke represented his hometown of El Paso in the House of Representatives for six years before giving up his seat to run for Senate in 2018. Though he came up short in his quest to unseat incumbent Republican Ted Cruz, the surprisingly close race made O’Rourke one of the rising stars of the Democratic Party. Just five months later, he announced his bid for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination. That campaign failed to gain traction in a crowded field, and O’Rourke withdrew from the race in late 2019.
During his failed run for the Democratic presidential nomination, O’Rourke blamed Congress for not passing stricter gun-control measures and asserted his support of mandatory buybacks of assault-style rifles that have been used in mass shootings.
“Hell yes, we’re going to take your AR-15, your AK-47,” he declared at the Democratic debate in Houston, Texas. “We’re not going to allow it to be used against our fellow Americans anymore.”
O’Rourke said Texans have expressed concern to him about Gov. Gregg Abbott’s signing a bill in July that would allow people to carry handguns without a license.
“We don’t want extremism in our gun laws. We want to protect the Second Amendment, we want to protect the lives of our fellow Texans. And I know that when we come together and stop this divisive extremism that we see from Greg Abbott right now, we’re going to be able to do that,” he concluded.