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Call it a taste of things to come.
On the eve of former Rep. Beto O’Rourke’s announcement that he was launching a Democratic challenge against Gov. Greg Abbott of Texas, the campaign of the two-term Republican governor went up with new ad taking aim at O’Rourke.
The statewide digital spot highlights past comments by O’Rourke on the combustible issues of immigration and border security that he made during his unsuccessful bid for the 2020 presidential nomination, which the former congressman from El Paso launched after coming close to defeating Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas in the 2018 election.
Carney, a veteran of numerous GOP presidential and statewide campaigns of the years, described O’Rourke as a “perennial candidate” who he predicted would become “a three time loser.”
But Carney added that O’Rourke would “be competitive. He’ll raise lots of money from across the country. But we are not the Ted Cruz campaign. We tend to take him very seriously and deal with him.”
O’Rourke grabbed national attention in 2018 as he hauled in huge amounts of fundraising from across the country, boosting him as he nearly knocked off Cruz, a well-known conservative firebrand in the Senate and the runner up to former President Trump in the 2016 GOP presidential nomination race.
Then-Democratic presidential candidate Beto O’Rourke campaigns at an event in Plymouth, New Hampshire on March 20, 2019
Abbott served a dozen years as Texas attorney general before winning the 2014 gubernatorial election, succeeding longtime GOP Gov. Rick Perry.
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While a proven conservative, Abbott is facing multiple Republican primary challenges from the right. Among those who’ve launched longshot bids to oust the governor in next year’s GOP primary are former Rep. Allen West of Florida, who later moved to the Lone Star State and briefly served as Texas Republican Party chair, and former state Sen. Don Huffines.
Carney told Fox News that the Abbott campaign is “not taking anything for granted but we’re focused on the general election.”
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