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Head to head: Future Texas governor

Democratic challenger Beto O’Rourke and Republican candidate Greg Abbott prepare for election day Nov. 8. (Left) Annabella Mireles/Prospector file photo (Right) courtesy of Wikipedia Commons.

The Texas gubernatorial election is set to take place Nov. 8. With the voter registration deadline approaching Oct. 11, it is important that everyone knows both candidates and what they stand for. It is expected to be a tight race against incumbent Greg Abbott and Democratic challenger Beto O’Rourke, Greg Abbott holds a 6-point lead over O’Rourke in a new poll released by Emerson College and The Hill.

For 27 years the State of Texas has consistently voted for a Republican governor and the idea of Texas turning blue seemed almost impossible until 2018, Beto O’Rourke lost by only 2.6 percent to Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, according to The Texas Tribune, which totals to about 214,921 votes.

To better understand the two candidates, here is a quick voters’ guide on the two candidates.


Abbott, who has been governor since 2015, has taken many stances on education, this includes last summer when Abbott signed into law HB 3979, which put limitations on what is being taught about Critical Race Theory (CRT) in K-12 curriculums. The law limits teachers to speak about current events, the way racism is taught, and how the history of people of color is told. 

Most recently, the newest bill proposal “The Parental Bill of Rights,” would allow Texas parents to be the primary decision makers for their children’s education. According to Abbott’s website, this bill would allow for parents to access course curriculum, “protect” students from possible pornographic content in school curriculum and to remind parents that they have the right to decide if they believe their child should be held back or not. 

O’Rourke, who has not held a public office since 2019, has spoken more on funding public schools, raising teacher pay and removing standardized testing. According to the O’Rourke campaign website, his main goal is to prioritize funding public schools, as he states Abbott has underfunded schools by $4,000 per student. Other than his priorities of funding and higher pay, O’Rourke hopes to bring Texas to a top 10 rank in education.

Gun control

Since the events of May 24, at Robb Elementary, gun control has become a big topic among Texas voters and both Abbott and O’Rourke are on two sides of the table. 

For Abbott, he stands for defending the 2nd Amendment, as an active National Rifle Association (NRA) and Texas State Rifle Association (TSRA) member. Abbott has only signed into effect “Campus Carry” (S.B. 11), which allows anyone who has a license to carry the right to carry a concealed handgun on university campuses. Another bill signed in his time in office was “Open Carry” (HB 1927) allowing 21-year-olds and older to carry a handgun without a permit. 

O’Rourke stands on the other side showing great opposition for “Open Carry” and even more so after the events at Uvalde. Though O’Rourke does not want to ban all firearms but rather have better laws put in place to secure these weapons. Some of these laws including raising the age to buy a firearm to 21, having a red flag law system, better background checks and better storage laws.  

O’Rourke has openly called out Greg Abbott on his lack of change in gun safety, both during the aftermath of the 2019 El Paso Walmart shooting and most recently, the Robb Elementary shooting, where O’Rourke called Abbott out in front of city leaders, other state officials and the people of Uvalde.  

Border & immigration 

In our border city, we have recently seen an influx of immigrants flood the downtown streets, which has become a big part of this coming election. According to Customs and Border Protections, roughly 1,500 migrants are crossing our border which has caused concern. 

 According to O’Rourke’s campaign website, O’Rourke wants to fund better technology such as cameras, surveillance towers, and drones to detect crossing between ports of entry and help law enforcement make these arrests. Other plans include updating the legal pathways for incoming immigrants to become citizens with a better system and shorter time period.  

Abbott who has used the current immigration situation as a main point in his political rallies, has mentioned securing the U.S.-Mexico border in order to fight drug cartels and human trafficking. Most recently, Gov. Abbott has designated Mexican drug cartels as terrorist groups, further pushing the Texas Department of Public Safety to take immediate action to protect the people of Texas. With the rise of fentanyl deaths, Abbott has requested that U.S. President Joe Biden and U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris classify the Sinaloa Cartel and Jalisco New Generation Cartel as terrorist groups. 

Reproductive Rights 

The U.S. Supreme Court overturned the landmark 1973 decision of Roe v. Wade June 24, which stripped women of their federal protection and rights to abortion. After the ruling, many states who had trigger laws went into immediate effect; for Texas the trigger law went into effect in late August. 

For Texans, the law means abortion is criminalized at the time of fertilization, the patient and those who assisted in doing the abortion can face life in prison or a $100,000 fine.  Abbott wants to prevent cities and counties from using Texas tax dollars to fund abortions.  

O’Rourke has voiced his opinion on giving Texas women back the right to choose what they do with their bodies. He has also spoken on strengthening investments in affordable contraception, cancer screenings, and other crucial family planning services, as well as support healthy babies and combat Texas’ maternal mortality crisis by expanding Medicaid and increasing pregnancy Medicaid eligibility to one-year-postpartum. 

LGBTQ+ Rights 

In February, Abbott ordered state child welfare officials to investigate parents of transgender children for child abuse. According to The Texas Tribune., the order came only seven days prior to the primary election. Abbott has not made any announcements stating any assistance or support for the LGBTQ+ community, while Texas has one of the largest LGBTQ+ populations in the country according to the Movement Advanced Project. 

O’Rourke has made it clear he wants to pass the state’s first comprehensive nondiscrimination law and protect the fundamental rights and freedoms of all Texans, according to his website.

“I will always fight alongside you to ensure that you’re able to live freely as yourself, free from attacks and discrimination,” O’Rourke said in a tweet after Abbott’s announcement of state welfare being able to investigate parents for child abuse. 

 Miners are encouraged to register to vote by Oct. 11 to take part in early voting Oct. 24-Nov. 4 and should keep in mind election day is Tuesday, Nov. 8.  

Information used was found with the help of, and 

Itzel Giron is the multimedia editor and can be reached at [email protected]; @by.itzel.giron on Instagram; @itzel_anahi_16 on Twitter.

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About the Contributor
Itzel Giron
Itzel Giron, Editor-in-chief
Itzel Giron is a senior multimedia journalism and creative writing student at UTEP. She started her journalistic career at The Prospector in the fall of 2021 as a staff reporter and is now editor-in-chief. Thanks to The Prospector and her tenacity, Itzel has had the opportunity to be an intern with KVIA Channel 7 at El Paso. Itzel is also a freelance journalist, and her work has been published in The City Magazine, Borderzine and Walsworth Yearbooks. After graduation, Itzel hopes to continue her passion of journalism by working in broadcast television reporting on politics, entertainment and news.
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Head to head: Future Texas governor