O’Rourke wrapped up an hour-long campaign stop in Rockdale, Texas, Friday evening and walked back to his truck through a crowd of Texas Republican Gov. Greg Abbott supporters. Several boisterous people walked O’Rourke back to his vehicle, waving Abbott signs and dancing along to Kid Rock’s “We the People.”
O’Rourke is using the months left before the election to hit campaign stops across Texas, even in deep red Milam County, which voted more than 75% in favor of former President Donald Trump in the 2020 election. O’Rourke is hoping to make up ground with a blitz across the Lone Star State in his longshot attempt to unseat Abbott, who is running for his third term in the office.
O’Rourke’s signature issue is gun control, and he is campaigning to ban AR-15 rifles and other firearms. He also wants to repeal the state’s constitutional carry law and implement red flag laws and other gun control reforms.
The Democratic candidate is well-known for his gun control activism. On May 25, O’Rourke interrupted a press conference led by Abbott over the mass shooting at Uvalde Elementary School that resulted in the deaths of 19 students and two educators.
As Abbott was delivering remarks, O’Rourke approached the stage and accused the governor of not doing enough to combat gun violence.
“The time to stop the next shooting is right now and you are doing nothing. You are offering us nothing,” O’Rourke said. “This is totally predictable when you choose not to do anything.”
Critics accused O’Rourke of using the Uvalde tragedy as a campaign stunt. As O’Rourke confronted Abbott, Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick called the Democratic gubernatorial candidate an “embarrassment” and told him to sit down.
Uvalde Mayor Don McLaughlin, who was also on stage with Abbott, had strong words for O’Rourke.
“Sir, you are out of line. Please leave this auditorium,” McLaughlin yelled. “I can’t believe. You’re a sick son of a b****, you would come to a deal like this to make a political issue.”