O’Rourke or Abbott: Who Will Win?

Miranda Martinez, Managing Editor

Drawing of Beto O'Rourke
Graphic of 2022 Gubernatorial Candidate Beto O’Rourke by Aldo Calucho, Graphic Designer
Drawing of Governor Greg Abbott
Graphic of Governor Greg Abbott by Aldo Calucho, Graphic Designer

Robert “Beto” O’Rourke has made a name for himself in Texas politics. From a city council representative in El Paso, to a presidential candidate, Beto has changed the way Texans view the future of their state and its potential to turn blue. But after Senate and Presidential campaign defeats, his gubernatorial race against Governor Greg Abbott has left voters wondering if he can finally bring it home and bring change to Texas’ future. So, will he win?

Currently, Texas Tribune polls show Governor Abbott ahead by just 5 points. A lead that has been diminished by Beto’s efforts throughout the state with his campaign rallies, alongside civil rights leaders, like Dolores Huerta, and town hall meetings since the beginning of his campaign. 

Beto’s campaign has established young voters as an untapped source of votes and has catered to them by going across Texas, holding rallies for students on college campuses. With notable appearances at Texas A&M University-College Station and University of Texas-Austin, he has shown he can rally young voters from all over Texas.

With countless posts being seen on Instagram, Twitter, and TikTok, an impression is formed that these voters will go out and vote on Election Day. But the fact still remains, young voters show up to polling stations in lower numbers than their older counterparts, who in the state of Texas, historically vote for the GOP.

So, even as Beto rallies hundreds of students alongside pop culture icons, like Lin Manuel Miranda, Harry Styles, and Kacey Musgraves, these students will still need to show up at the polls, something that takes a lot more effort and time compared to reposting an Instagram post on their account, vowing support for Beto and his promises. This could also lead to false confidence for not only the Beto campaign, but also voters who may not feel like they need to vote when they actually do. 

Yet, Beto’s campaign may just pull through on Nov. 8th. Texans have expressed their discontent with Governor Abbott’s competence, time and after time. Most notably, the February Freeze of 2021, where 247 people died after an unprecedented winter storm slammed the state, leaving millions without power along with an estimated $300 billion in damages. An event Abbott blamed on wind turbine failure, and not the ERCOT (Electric Reliability Council of Texas) power grid, which Abbott oversees. An action Beto used to his advantage, with his ‘Keeping the Lights On’ tour, where he addressed Texans’ concerns about these outages. Yet, voters’ memories are short, and people often forget about these events by the time Election Day comes around. So while this may be an arousing campaign topic for avid Beto supporters, those on the fence about voting for him may not remember Beto’s promise to fix the grid on Election Day, potentially costing Beto the election. 

So, what can Beto supporters do? Show up at the polls. His race against Senator Ted Cruz showed that he had the potential to win a statewide election as a Democrat in a red state. Now Beto needs those same voters to show up and vote again, but in even greater amounts. Especially those young voters who are voting for the first time. If not, Abbott might just be our governor for the next 4 years.