Inside Texas Politics: Interview with Beto O’Rourke

Beto O’Rourke sits down with Jason Whitely to discuss topics ranging from abortion to property taxes, the border and the “Miracle of Texas.”

EL PASO, Texas — As Beto O’Rourke tries to persuade voters to send him to Austin for governor, the Democrat is enjoying some momentum in the final weeks leading up to the election, including record fundraising and single-digit poll numbers.

The issues in the gubernatorial race are familiar, from abortion to gun control, property taxes to the border. And the Democrat recently sat down for a one-on-one with Jason Whitely to discuss her and many others.

In our conversation with O’Rourke, it quickly became clear that he was banking on voters’ anger and their desire for something different.

“People in Texas now want to vote for change and something better,” O’Rourke said InsideTexas Politics.

Republicans, including the governor, have accused O’Rourke of supporting abortion up to the moment of birth. But the Democrat tells us this is simply not true and is just part of the ongoing GOP strategy to scare people.

Although O’Rourke would not tell us exactly what restrictions he would support, he says He would like to go to the standard of Roe v. Wade, who held that a constitutional right to liberty included a woman’s right to an abortion. But Roe overturned the US Supreme Court decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization earlier this year.

“My position on reproductive health care freedom, which is that every woman should be able to make her own decisions about her own body, her own future, her own health care, is supported by the vast majority of our fellow Texas people, including Republican, support state,” O’Rourke said.

RELATED: Race for Texas Governor: Full Interview with Gov. Greg Abbott

The consequences of the Uvalde massacre continue to play a major role in the election campaign.

Our recent Texas Decides poll, a study of likely Texan voters and a joint effort by the Texas Hispanic Policy Foundation (THPF) and Texas Tegna stations WFAA, KHOU, KENS, and KVUE, found that a similar percentage of Texans had one less positive opinion of O’Rourke than Governor Abbott after the tragedy, O’Rourke received the most positive response among political figures, with 31% seeing him in a more positive light.

O’Rourke says if he were governor he would try to heal that community and curb gun violence by calling a special session.

And on politics, O’Rourke reiterated his support for universal background checks, red flag laws and raising the minimum age to purchase an assault weapon from 18 to 21.

“There’s almost universal support for those three ideas, raising the age, red flag laws, universal background checks,” O’Rourke said. “Even people who will never vote for me can at least agree on that.”

When we sat down on his porch with O’Rourke, we were only a dozen miles from the border.

While telling us that the Biden administration is not doing enough to protect the border, he says nobody is. And the Democrat calls Operation Lone Star a failure because he says the $4 billion effort hasn’t resulted in fewer encounters at the border, it’s led to more. And O’Rourke calls the transport of migrants to Northeast cities a political ploy.

He gave Jason Whitely an example of what he would do instead.

“Like a Texas-based migrant worker program, for example, where we bring Republicans and Democrats around the table, work with our federal partners, and make sure that if you come out here and want a job in El Paso or North Texas to work for that matter, for that.” we cannot find anyone born in this state who will actually do this work, that there is a safe, legal and orderly way for you to get into this country.”

Regarding the race itself, our poll also found that Abbott O’Rourke leads the likely voters at 7% (51% vs. 44%). For the most likely (almost certain) voters, the lead grows to 10% (53% – 43%). 1% of voters in both categories (likely/most likely) say they will vote for Libertarian Mark Tippetts and Green Party candidate Delilah Barrios.

The election will take place on November 8th. Early voting starts on October 24th.

Beto O’Rourke spoke on many other topics in our broad interview, including how he would continue the “Texas Miracle” of economic growth if elected. Listen to the Democrat’s full Inside Texas Politics interview to learn more. Inside Texas Politics: Interview with Beto O’Rourke

Laura Coffey

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