Democratic candidate for governor Beto O’Rourke will take on the Texas highways with his 2017 Toyota Tundra to meet up with as many voters as possible.
“Drive for Texas” will be a seven-week trip starting next week in which O’Rourke will embark in, to attend around 70 public events in more than 65 counties, including Ellis, Tarrant, Hunt, and Collin and Dento next month. Beto will be on the road for all of August and finishing in September.
This means a tight itinerary of around 5,600 miles. This is not the first time the candidate takes on the highway to meet up with voters, when he ran for senator in 2018 he embarked on the late-summer “Grassroots Drive Across Texas”, which was 34 days long. He also did it, despite the fact that he had already visited all 254 of the state’s counties.
“We are going to bring Texans together in every part of this state to overcome Abbott’s extremism, incompetence, cruelty and corruption, and focus on the big things that unite us: great jobs, world-class schools and the ability to be healthy enough to live to our full potential,” O’Rourke expressed in a written statement.
Albeit polls have shown that current Greg Abbott is still in the lead, they have also shown that the difference keeps on getting narrower. Specifically with the messy aftermath of the handling of the mass shooting in Uvalde. O’Rourke publicly chastised Abbott and other republican politicians, interrupting him and saying “The time to stop the next shooting is right now and you are doing nothing”.
O’Rourke has been active in the different communities in Texas: supporting Juneteenth and the Black community, speaking out on LGBTQ rights, talking with Latino families and letting them express their needs, and hearing out teachers in public schools who struggle with low funding and the state’s dependence on standardized tests. He is also a supporter of the legalization of marijuana, the regulation of guns and women’s rights to safe abortions and reproductive healthcare.
He is the complete opposite of his adversary, who has been criticized for cataloging parents who help their trans children access gender conversion therapy as abusers, for his bad handling of the Uvalde shooting and lack of action regarding gun control, and for being hesitant about legalizing marijuana.
Texas is a traditionally conservative state, but its politically active youth is proof that a change could be on its way. O’Rourke’s message of being governor for the people with the people is resonating with voters, and this road trip is the perfect opportunity to continue to connect with them.
“There’s this huge opportunity with the race tightening and with Abbott’s unfavorables at the highest they’ve ever been and 59% of Texas voters thinking things are on the wrong track [and] after the overturning of Roe and Uvalde,” explained O’Rourke spokesman Chris Evans for The Dallas Morning News
Despite the seven-week trip taking a significant amount of time from his candidate run, the election is on November 8, they hope this becomes a space for people who are still hesitant to hear Beto out and vote on election day.
A list of the events that O’Rourke will be present in is available on his campaign website. He will also attend two events that aren’t part of the Drive For Texas route, in August. 11, he’ll attend the Delta Sigma Theta annual conference in Fort Worth. And on September 7, O’Rourke will be in Dallas for the annual Johnson-Jordan Dinner of the Dallas County Democratic Party.