Abbott slams Beto O’Rourke as governor’s race takes shape

Texas governor made comments after celebrating a Texas Democrat’s decision to change parties

Beto O'Rourke, left, and Texas Gov. Greg Abbott, right. (Associated Press, KSAT)

FLORESVILLE – Texas Gov. Greg Abbott pounced on Beto O’Rourke Monday morning hours after he announced he was running for governor.

During a press conference where Texas House District 31 Rep. Ryan Guillen announced he is switching sides to the Republican party, Abbott said O’Rourke’s values are “hostile to Texas,” painting the former congressman as a far-left liberal.

“He wants to go take your guns, and deny you your Second Amendment rights,” Abbott said. “We will not let that happen in the state of Texas.”

O’Rourke, who was unsuccessful in his bids to be senator and president, doubled down on his proposal for buybacks of semi-automatic rifles in his campaign announcement.

“I think most Texans can agree — maybe all Texans can agree — that we should not see our friends, our family members, our neighbors, shot up with weapons that were originally designed for use on a battlefield,” O’Rourke said.

O’Rourke hails from El Paso, where a shooter with anti-Hispanic sentiments gunned down 23 people in 2019.

The governor pointed to Guillen’s defection as evidence that Texas Democrats will not make any headway in the 2022 midterm election.

“The values of the (Hispanic) community are tied and closely connected to the Republican party, not the Democrat party,” Abbott said.

O’Rourke said he decided to run for office in part because of the failures of the Texas energy grid exposed by the freeze in February, which killed more than 200 Texans as many in the state went without power for days.

“It’s a symptom of a much larger problem that we have in Texas right now,” O’Rourke said. “Those in positions of public trust have stopped listening to, serving and paying attention to and trusting the people of Texas.”

Watch the full news conference below:

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