EL PASO, Texas -- Former El Paso Democratic congressman Beto O'Rourke said in a radio interview that he is contemplating a run for governor of Texas next year against Republican incumbent Greg Abbott.
Abbott will be seeking his third term in office and O'Rourke told ABC-7's media partners at KLAQ radio that he's considering a bid to oust the governor.
"It's something I'm going to think about," O'Rourke said. "This state has suffered perhaps more than any other in the midst of this pandemic."
O'Rourke cited the roughly 1,600 virus deaths in the Sun City to date and blamed Abbott for failing to cooperate with El Paso's local leaders to help stem the tide.
"In El Paso, so many people dying so quickly you set up ten mobile morgues, have to call the national guard to move the dead bodies, and you have a complete indifference on the part of Gov. Greg. Abbott to what local leadership, including our County Judge Samaniego, are trying to do to literally save lives of the people in our lives," O'Rourke said.
O'Rourke also indicated he recently endured the loss of a "very good friend" in El Paso who died after being hospitalized with the virus.
"That gets me and I want to be sure we have someone in the highest office in our state to make sure we're all ok," O'Rourke said in the interview with KLAQ's Buzz Adams.
Reacting Thursday to O'Rourke's comments, Abbott dismissed O'Rourke's views as too liberal for many voters in the state.
Abbott told reporters at an oil and gas forum in Odessa that if voters want open borders, gun restrictions and a loss of oil jobs - then O'Rourke is their candidate.
"So you're talking about a person who says they want to run for governor, who said heck yes, he's gonna come and take your guns. Heck yes, he's for open borders. Heck yes, he is for killing the energy sector and fossil fuels in the state of Texas. I don't think that's going to sell real well," Abbott said.
O'Rourke's last bid in a statewide election saw him narrowly lose to Republican U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas in 2018. The race marked the closest a Democrat had come to winning a senate seat in Texas in roughly 40 years.
You can listen to O'Rourke's entire interview, which covered a variety of political topics - the last of which was his interest in the governor's office, in the video player at the top of this article.