Speaking to hundreds of supporters outside the Texas Capitol, O'Rourke, a former Democratic congressman who ran for president in 2020 and has not ruled out a gubernatorial campaign challenging Abbott in 2022, criticized Republican lawmakers for their latest efforts to pass an election reform bill critics say would make it harder for Blacks and Hispanics to vote. O'Rourke urged those in attendance to "fight on every front" in order to "save American democracy".
"Ladies and gentlemen, seven million eligible Texans did not vote in the most important election of our lives last year and there's a reason why," O'Rourke told the crowd. "It is because this state has perfected the art of keeping their voices silenced and their votes uncounted. And we must all stand up for them."
O'Rourke, who became a Democratic star when he narrowly lost a U.S. Senate race in 2018 to Republican Ted Cruz, told Reuters Text last week he is focused on voting rights at the moment, not his political future.