In the final weeks of his third failed attempt to seek higher office in four years, former congressman/serial loser Beto O’Rourke collapsed his campaign down to one issue — in fact, one proper noun: Uvalde.
On May 24, 19 children and two teachers were killed by a gunman at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas. Instead of placing the blame on incompetent policing or missed red flags, Beto used the opportunity to blame guns and Gov. Greg Abbott. And the way to solve the problem, he promised, was casting a ballot for him.
The day before the election, Beto tweeted about Uvalde, saying that “more families” would grieve over lost children “unless we act,” and that Texas was “going to act by voting for change tomorrow.”
No family should ever have to experience what the families in Uvalde and Santa Fe have experienced, but they remind us that more families will unless we act.
We are going to act by voting for change tomorrow. pic.twitter.com/IABylCGSJY
— Beto O’Rourke (@BetoORourke) November 7, 2022
Earlier in the month, he took time off to visit Uvalde — as he made sure to stress, for the fifth time.
Beto back in UVALDE
Abbott? Nope, never again.
“Five times. Five times to be with this community, to support this community”#UvaldeStrong #BetoDaysAreComing
11/2/22 – 1 pic.twitter.com/1GTrM2MRHA
— BetoMedia (@BetoMedia) November 3, 2022
Good morning, Texas! Hope you’ll join us today in Laredo at 12:30 (TAMIU) and in Uvalde at 4:30 (Willie De Leon Civic Center). See you there!
— Beto O’Rourke (@BetoORourke) November 2, 2022
If there was anywhere in Texas he should have cleaned up on Election Day, then, it was Uvalde County. But not only did Beto lose there, he lost there by a wider margin than he did statewide.
As Tony Plohetski of the Austin Statesman noted, this was in spite of the fact the shooting “sparked calls for change in Texas government and gun reform.”
UPDATE: Voters in Uvalde County, where the state’s deadliest mass school shooting happened five months ago and sparked calls for change in Texas government and gun reform, voted 22 percent in favor of Gov. Greg Abbott over Beto O’Rourke, 60 to 38 percent in final votes. https://t.co/HssqzCIokN
— Tony Plohetski (@tplohetski) November 9, 2022
And, by the way, O’Rourke outperformed that significantly during his 2018 run for a Senate seat against GOP incumbent Ted Cruz. According to The New York Times, Cruz took home 54.8 percent of the vote in Uvalde County vs. 44.5 percent for Beto.
While that race was closer than this year’s gubernatorial election was, this was also before Beto and the Democrats made Uvalde the linchpin of their campaign, hoping to shame Greg Abbott into defeat. It didn’t work.
Now, scenes like this one — where Beto harassed Abbott and other officials during a news conference about the Uvalde massacre — look ghoulish and pathetic:
WARNING: The following video contains vulgar language that some viewers may find offensive.
Beto O’Rourke, a democratic candidate for Texas governor, approached the stage during Gov. Abbott’s news conference, confronting him over the elementary school shooting.
O’Rourke told Abbott the shooting was “totally predictable” and that he was “doing nothing.” pic.twitter.com/KrMoS2RC1y
— NBC News (@NBCNews) May 25, 2022
O’Rourke’s loss was a reminder that perception isn’t reality.
That mostly cut against Republicans on Tuesday, sadly to say. In Texas, it cut against Beto.
Not that he was a favorite to win anyway — the RealClearPolitics polling average had him over 10 points down, which is roughly where he’ll likely finish — but at least he was supposed to Start a Conversation™ about gun control. He didn’t.
As Omar Villafranca of CBS News noted, “even though Beto was down there, and five months after that tragedy … Greg Abbott won that county handily. What was working for Greg Abbott? If it’s not broken, no need to fix it.”
Texas Republican Governor Greg Abbott is projected to win reelection. CBS News’ @lillialuciano reports that many families impacted by the Uvalde school shooting supported Democrat Beto O’Rourke. But @OmarVillafranca point out, “Abbott won that county overwhelmingly,” pic.twitter.com/H7zgEyPIKM
— CBS News (@CBSNews) November 9, 2022
Abbott, Villafranca said, convinced Texans that “Beto would turn it into a Biden state” — which was apparently enough to scare Texans away from the Democratic candidate, especially in the county where the deadliest school shooting in the state’s history happened just months ago.
For months, O’Rourke banged on about how gun control would solve the problem. Over and over again, he brought his anti-gun road show down to Uvalde, cynically using the town and its grieving families as grim props.
The select group of parents and the backdrop may have convinced the media that Beto had changed hearts and minds. The numbers tell a different tale.
After this latest humiliation, it’s time for O’Rourke and his cadre of gun-grabbers to sink back into the Texan murk whence they came.
This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.