Beto O’Rouke’s 2022 Governor’s Race


Mazzy Warren, Dispatch Reporter

What do Texans need in a governor? How do they know that they’re voting for someone who will help them, not hurt them? How do they know who they should vote for? Although there’s no definitive answer to any of these questions, Democrat Beto O’Rourke hopes to earn voters’ permission to take charge in the upcoming election as governor of Texas.

According to O’Rourke, his campaign aims to build up a state in which people “work together on the truly big things [they] want to achieve for one another.” As governor, he said he would aim to make changes to the impact left by current governor, Greg Abbott.

“I’m running to help bring the state together to do some of the really big things that we need to be focused on,” O’Rourke said in an interview conducted by the USA Today Network. “[I want to] get us past the very small divisive politics and policies that Greg Abbott has been pursuing my fellow Texans.”

O’Rourke was born and raised in El Paso, Texas, where he has acted as a member of the City council and been a Congress representative.  According to AP government teacher Dalton Pool, O’rourke’s views are socially liberal, but economically he’s more of a moderate. He’s most known for his 2018 run for Senate against Ted Cruz and his 2020 Democratic presidential campaign– he lost both of these efforts, but that’s not deterring him from running for Texas governor.

“He’s known for his charismatic campaign style,” Pool said. “He gained a lot of attention statewide and nationally when he ran for Senate against Ted Cruz, making him very popular among Democrats and very unpopular among Republicans.”

As governor of Texas, the winner must handle many responsibilities– such as implementing state laws and overseeing the state executive branch. Governors must also develop policies and programs for their respective states.

To be governor you have to wear a lot of hats,” Pool said. “You must carry out current laws, work with the State Legislature in crafting new laws, work with the federal government– especially on fiscal matters, and respond to crises across the state. Being an experienced representative and politician, I do believe O’Rourke could handle those responsibilities.”

The primary elections are scheduled for March 1, the primary runoffs following nearly three months later, on May 24. Voters will make their final decisions on November 8. O’Rourke is competing in the Democratic primaries against four other candidates: Inocencio Barrientez, Michael Cooper, Joy Diaz, and Rich Wakeland.

“[O’Rourke] is well supported in big cities,” junior Jack Doss said. “His name is already out there, and he’s going to have a lot more attention than some of the smaller candidates. I don’t think he’ll do terrible, but he might not win easily.”

O’Rourke founded and currently runs Powered by People. According to their website, Powered by People is an organization that arranges opportunities for volunteers to do the “tough, necessary work” needed in Texas. He has stated he would like to use this organization to get more Texans registered for voting.

“Texas Republicans have made it even tougher for the people of Texas to vote,” O’Rourke said in a video uploaded to his Facebook account. “That’s why we’ve got to work even harder to [register eligible voters], and ensure they can make a difference. Pitch in now so we have the resources to reach them so that they can make a difference in 2022.”

Gov. Abbott has been serving as the 48th Governor of Texas since his election in 2015. His primary campaign for this election is to make border security a priority.

People should know that Governor Abbott has been governor for two full terms already,” Pool said. “He is a champion of low taxes and very little regulation on businesses and corporations. Socially he has become more and more conservative over his career.”

Now, in 2022, Abbott and O’Rourke, whom many believe are two of Texas’ biggest politicians, will compete head-to-head in this race. Abbott is expected to be the biggest Republican in this race, while people predict O’Rourke will be the face of the Democratic half.

“With Abbott running, I hope [O’Rourke] wins,” Doss said. “I don’t like the way Abbott handled the winter storm, and he’s lost a lot of support after the way he handled it, but he’s still very well supported in Texas.”

In the face of Abbott’s re-running, many don’t believe Beto has a good chance of winning the race. According to government teacher Ruth Narvaiz, those who have been in office for a long time are more likely to be re-elected because “name recognition” is typically what gets someone elected.

“I think, based on current demographics and voting trends, Abbott will win easily,” Pool said. “I’d give [O’Rourke] a 20 percent chance to win. He would need a huge turnout from young voters and from minorities to have a chance. Voter turnout is usually low in midterms, however.”

Some students don’t believe elections like these would have any impact on life at Bowie. Despite these thoughts, Doss feels that participating in smaller-scale elections is “a good way to introduce young voters to political action.” Pool, contrary to students’ ideas, believes that the party controlling the state government has a big impact on Bowie.

“Bowie and AISD are drastically underfunded, and much of that has to do with current education laws,” Pool said. “Until those laws are changed, AISD will continue to just barely scrape by. Republicans have been in charge for 20 plus years and have been largely unwilling to change the current laws. I don’t know if Democrats would be more willing to change the current laws, but until something changes, schools will continue to suffer.”