At a virtual live event hosted by Mother Jones on Wednesday, former US Rep. Beto O’Rourke (D-Texas) confirmed that he is considering a run for Texas governor—in large part due to his concern for voting rights.
“[It’s] no secret, I’m thinking about running for governor,” he told Mother Jones’ Ari Berman. “Front and center in my consideration is just this: what it means for us to live in a democracy.”
“When I thought about how I could be most effective for this state, and, I hope, this country this year, it was on the issue of voting rights,” he added. “It is connected to any other right that matters to you.”
Berman followed up: “Have you decided yet whether or not you are going to run for governor?”
“I have not made a final decision. I’ve given a lot of thought to it. I am listening to a lot of people, and the decision comes down to, where and how can I do the most good for the greatest number of people here in Texas?”
Watch the full exchange:
.@BetoORourke just confirmed that he’s considering a run for governor—and that it has everything to do with voting rights. “When I thought about how I could be most effective for this state, and, I hope, this country this year, it was on the issue of voting rights.” pic.twitter.com/vC2cVG8YKZ
— Mother Jones (@MotherJones) September 22, 2021
Indeed, much of O’Rourke’s focus in the last year has been advocating for the expansion of voting rights at the national level in order to combat the recently-passed voter suppression law in Texas and extreme gerrymandering set to pass in a matter of weeks.
As Berman reports, Democrats last week introduced a sweeping voting rights bill that would “expand access to the ballot for millions of Americans, ban partisan gerrymandering, and crack down on dark money groups.” The bill, however, has little chance of passing without filibuster reform. While some Democrats, including Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.), a sponsor of the bill, have expressed concerns that removing the filibuster would backfire if Republicans take control of Congress in the future, O’Rourke said Wednesday that those concerns ignore the big picture.
“I think we are right to assume that [removing the filibuster] is going to happen regardless,” O’Rourke said. “That is going to happen one way or another under one party or another. Let it happen now, at a time that we can come close to securing something like free and fair elections in America.”
He predicted Democrats would lose their congressional majorities if they failed to pass federal legislation protecting voting rights.
“If we, as Democrats or pro-democracy Americans, are not willing to use every tool available to us—while Republicans are using every tool available to them to constrict and reduce and perhaps demolish the right to vote altogether—then we become complicit in the outcome,” he added. “And I’m not in for that one.”
Our full interview with O’Rourke will be available for viewing tomorrow on our website and YouTube.