Report: Beto O'Rourke talking to potential staffers for run against Texas Gov. Greg Abbott

click to enlarge Beto O’Rourke photographed during a San Antonio campaign stop as he ran against U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz. - BRYAN RINDFUSS
Bryan Rindfuss
Beto O’Rourke photographed during a San Antonio campaign stop as he ran against U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz.
After a weekend Axios story suggesting Beto O'Rourke is ready to challenge Gov. Greg Abbott, the New York Times is now reporting that the former El Paso congressman is already rounding up campaign staff for the run.

O’Rourke became a Democratic rockstar after a close and energetic race against U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz in 2018. He's also raised his profile recently via his voter-registration organization Powered by People, fueling speculation he might run against Abbott, a Republican with waning poll numbers.

O’Rourke is calling Democratic leaders across Texas to let them know he's serious about challenging Abbott in 2022, the Times reports. What's more, three Democratic officials familiar with his plans said he's poised to make a decision on the run as soon as October.

Even so, longtime O'Rourke advisor David Wysong told the Times the former congressman has made no decision on whether to challenge the TK-term GOP governor.

Abbott's poll numbers have slipped as grappled with crises including his handing of the COVID-19 and the failure of the state's power grid. What's more, he championed controversial legislation passed by the GOP-controlled Texas Legislature, including a near-total ban on abortions.

A new University of Texas-Texas Politics Project poll found that 50% of Texans disapprove of Abbott's performance while just 41% approve — his worst approval ratings in the six years the survey has been conducted.

A separate Dallas Morning News-University of Texas at Tyler poll found that Abbott’s approval rating had dropped to 45%, down from a high of 59% in March of last year. 

The same Morning News-UT Tyler poll showed that O’Rourke would lose by 5 points in a theoretical matchup against Abbott, while actor Matthew McConaughey, who's hinted at a run, would trounce Abbott by 9 points.

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