Beto O’Rourke Refuses to Say whether He Wants Biden to Campaign for Him

Beto O’Rourke speaks during a protest in Austin, Texas, May 8, 2021. (Mikala Compton/Reuters)

Former Democratic presidential candidate Beto O’Rourke refused to say if he wants President Biden to campaign for him in the Texas gubernatorial race, after repeated questions from CNN’s Dana Bash on State of the Union on Sunday.

“A recent poll shows that 35 percent of Texans approve of [Biden’s] performance. Would you like the president to come campaign with you?” Bash asked. A Texas Tribune/University of Texas poll earlier this month found that 35 percent of Texans approved of Biden’s job performance while 55 percent disapproved.

O’Rourke paused, then said the gubernatorial campaign “is not going to be about Joe Biden. It’s not going to be about Donald Trump. It’s not going to be about anyone from outside of the state.”

Bash again asked whether O’Rourke would invite Biden to campaign.

“Does that mean you would prefer that he not come, based on what you just said?” Bash said.

“I’m focused on Texas and on my fellow Texans. Those are the people most important to me,” O’Rourke responded. “There’s no politician, there’s no other person from outside of this state who can help change the course of this election, for better or for worse.”

Biden’s job approval rating sat at 41.3 percent nationally in RealClearPolitics polling averages on Sunday.

O’Rourke announced on November 15 that he would run for governor of Texas. The campaign comes after a failed presidential run and an attempt in 2018 to unseat Senator Ted Cruz (R., Texas), who defeated O’Rourke by 3 percentage points.

O’Rourke’s comments on Sunday come less than a month after Republican gains in the general election in Virginia and New Jersey. Republicans Glenn Youngkin and Winsome Sears won the elections for Virginia governor and lieutenant governor, respectively, while Republican Jack Ciattarelli came close to defeating New Jersey’s Democratic governor, Phil Murphy.

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Zachary Evans is a news writer for National Review Online. He is a veteran of the Israeli Defense Forces and a trained violist.