Beto O’Rourke took his whirlwind campaign for Texas governor to Fort Worth on Thursday night, assuring his supporters he will defend their rights and accomplish everything voters want if elected.
Hundreds from Tarrant County and beyond gathered in the Amon G. Carter Jr. Exhibits Hall at the Will Rogers Memorial Center to hear O’Rourke speak and answer their questions on abortion rights, critical race theory and gun control.
He was introduced by activist and pioneer Opal Lee, who was instrumental in helping Juneteenth become a national holiday.
“We together, Democrats, Republicans, Independents, Americans, Texans, human beings first are going to stand up and fight for your rights,” said O’Rourke, in the midst of a 49-day tour through Texas.
O’Rourke drew cheers and standing ovations throughout his speech that included some shots at his opponent, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott. He said Abbott doesn’t have the ability or the willpower to get what Texans want done.
There were a few hecklers in the back of the crowd but O’Rourke continued to speak over them and the cheers swallowed the noise.
“If we need some encouragement right now, look around this room, three months away from an election that will decide the future of this state and by extension, I would argue, the United States of America,” O’Rourke said.
“This many people are coming together to make sure that we do what it takes with what we have where we are to bring this home.”
In 2018, O’Rourke lost the race for U.S. Senate by 2.6 percentage points to incumbent Ted Cruz but managed to win Tarrant County.
Recent polls show O’Rourke narrowing the gap against Abbott by still trailing by about 5 to 7 percentage points.
O’Rourke was making his Fort Worth appearance one day after he fired back at an Abbott supporter during a speech in Mineral Wells.
After someone holding an Abbott sign was heard chuckling when O’Rourke described the AR-15 used in the Uvalde school massacre, O’Rourke whirled around and yelled, “It may be funny to you, [expletive]! But it’s not funny to me!”