Beto O’Rourke, a Democrat, has announced his candidacy for governor of Texas in 2022.

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Beto O’Rourke, a Democrat, has declared his candidacy for governor of Texas in 2022.

The Associated Press’ PAUL J WEBER

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — Beto O’Rourke, a Democrat, is running for governor of Texas, aiming for a blue breakthrough in America’s most red state after his star-making US Senate campaign in 2018 brought him closer than anyone else in decades.

O’Rourke’s announcement on Monday marks the start of his third election campaign in as many years.

He was a party phenomenon when he entered the 2020 Democratic presidential primary, but he dropped out eight months later as money and publicity dried up.

“It won’t be easy.

But it is possible,” O’Rourke said ahead of his announcement in an interview with The Associated Press.

“I have a strong suspicion, based on what I’ve heard from people in this state, that they are very unhappy with the direction in which (Gov.) Greg Abbott has taken Texas.”

With O’Rourke’s re-election, one of the most high-profile — and potentially expensive — governorship races in 2022 is set to take place.

Abbott, a Republican, is seeking re-election to a third term after putting Texas at the forefront of hard-right policymaking in state capitals and establishing himself as a national figure.

A challenge from O’Rourke, a media-savvy former congressman with a track record of attracting attention and cash, could entice Democrats across the country to spend millions of dollars trying to flip Texas once more.

Still, O’Rourke is a long shot.

Despite the fact that the state’s growing population of Latino, young, and college-educated voters is a boon for Democrats, the party’s spending spree in the 2020 presidential election left them with nothing.

In the run-up to next year’s midterm elections, the Democrats’ prospects are even worse.

Since Ann Richards was elected governor of Texas in 1990, the state has not had a Democratic governor.

Furthermore, Abbott’s newly enacted gerrymandered political maps, which were signed into law in October, strengthen Republicans’ position in booming suburban districts that have been drifting away from the party.

It’s possible that this will result in fewer competitive races and lower attendance.

Not only will O’Rourke, 49, have to win over hundreds of thousands of new voters, but also some of his old ones.

When Democrat Beto O’Rourke was defeated by Republican Sen.

Abbott was re-elected by double digits that same year, beating Ted Cruz by just 2.5 percentage points, reflecting a large number of Texans who voted for O’Rourke and the GOP governor.

That was the crossover appeal…

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