Robert Francis O’Rourke pauses campaign due to illness

Source: Hot Air

Robert Francis O’Rourke announced on Sunday evening that he is pausing his gubernatorial campaign due to an illness. On doctor’s orders, he is resting at home until he recovers from a bacterial infection. There is no timeline on when he will return to the campaign trail.

O’Rourke is challenging Governor Abbott for governor of Texas. He cut a book signing in San Antonio short a couple of days ago because he was not feeling well. O’Rourke reports that doctors at Methodist Hospital in San Antonio diagnosed him with a bacterial infection and treated him with IV antibiotics. The illness comes in the middle of O’Rourke’s 49-day campaign tour of 65 Texas counties.

“While my symptoms have improved, I will be resting at home in El Paso in accordance with the doctors’ recommendations,” O’Rourke said in a statement. “I am sorry to have had to postpone events because of this, but promise to be back on the road as soon as I am able.”

The latest poll from The Dallas Morning News and the University of Texas at Tyler has Abbott up by 7 points in the race. That is unchanged since May.

Powering the governor’s lead is his handling of the Texas economy, with 53% favoring his stewardship and 41% who disapprove. Only 9% blamed Abbott or Texas lawmakers for inflation, while 48% blamed higher costs for goods and services on President Joe Biden.

“Regardless of the many things that are happening, Abbott’s standing and trust in the economy is what’s holding that lead,” said Mark Owens, a political scientist at UT-Tyler and director of the poll.

But all is not rosy for Abbott, particularly when it comes to gun control, with 66% of voters saying the two-time incumbent should call a special session on curbing mass shootings.

The poll found that 63% don’t think elected officials are doing enough to stop mass shootings, which returned to the headlines after the May 24 massacre of 19 students and two teachers at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde. Roughly the same number of Texans say they are concerned about gun violence in their community.

“Not only are they concerned that a mass shooting could happen in their community, many people think that the Legislature and elected officials are not doing enough,” Owens said.

O’Rourke is quick to exploit mass shootings in Texas. He did so after a 2019 mass shooing at a Walmart in El Paso, putting the blame on Governor Abbott and Republicans for lax gun laws instead of putting the blame on the shooter. He did the same thing after the mass shooting in Uvalde at Robb Elementary School in May. O’Rourke interrupted a press briefing with the governor and other state officials to yell at Abbott that he was to blame for the deaths of 19 children and two teachers. O’Rourke famously said during his campaign for the Democrat nomination for president in 2020 that he would support door to door confiscation of guns from gun owners.

A central theme on the campaign trail with O’Rourke now is the issue of abortion. Texas has a near total ban on abortion after a trigger ban went into effect last week. The Texas Legislature passed the law in anticipation of the overturning of Roe v Wade in the Dobbs v Jackson Women’s Health case by the Supreme Court. A pinned tweet from his Twitter account points to his first campaign ad and its focus on abortion in Texas.

O’Rourke will likely be back on the campaign trail as soon as his doctor gives the ok. It’s a competitive race, the most competitive race for governor that Abbott has faced. Texas is becoming a purple state though all statewide offices are still held by Republicans as they have been since 1994. I don’t expect that to change this cycle but some races are closer than they have been in the past.