By Jack Fink

DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM)Beto O’Rourke announced the news on Twitter early Monday morning, Nov. 15.

“I’m running for Governor and I want to tell you why,” he began.

By the afternoon, he was in his Toyota pickup truck meeting with voters in West Texas.

In a one-on-one interview, the former El Paso Congressman sharply criticized Governor Greg Abbott’s record and explained why he believes the incumbent Republican doesn’t deserve a third term.

“It’s going to take getting past the small divisive leadership of Greg Abbott, whether it’s the grid failure that knocked millions out of power, and cost hundreds their lives, or the botched response to COVID, or these petty culture wars around girls, athletics and middle schools, or the abortion ban with the bounties paid to vigilantes.”

Among his priorities, expanding Medicaid, the healthcare program for the poor.

“If we don’t expand Medicaid in Texas, we might see more rural hospitals close up. We might see fewer doctors in these already underserved communities.”

O’Rourke ran unsuccessfully for U.S. Senate in 2018 and for President in 2020.

At an event near San Antonio Monday morning, Governor Abbott reminded voters of O’Rourke’s positions on guns and border security last year.

“They weren’t just at odds with Texans. They were hostile to Texas. He wants to go take your Second Amendment rights. We will not let that happen in the state of Texas. He stands for these open border policies.”

Weeks after a gunman massacred 23 people and injured 23 others in a Walmart in El Paso, O’Rourke said in a Democratic presidential debate in Houston, “Hell yes, we’re going to take your AR-15, your AK-47.”

When asked about border security Monday, O’Rourke said there needs to be more order on the border, and that Congress needs to improve immigration laws.

O’Rourke also criticized President Biden when asked if he holds him responsible for the situation right now.

“It’s clear that President Biden could be doing a better job at the border, it is not enough of a priority for his administration. We’ve got to have predictability, order, and the rule of law and that means honoring our asylum laws when someone has a credible asylum claim. That also means, and this is not popular amongst all Democrats, but it means that when someone comes here and doesn’t have a credible asylum claim and has entered in between ports of entry, they should be deported back to the country from which they came.”

O’Rourke will be touring the state this week and hold a campaign stop in Dallas Sunday afternoon, Nov. 21.

He said he will visit all parts of the state to listen to voters.

“You cannot be too rural or too big city, too blue or too red, for me to show up to listen and learn.”

Governor Abbott faces a primary challenge from two conservatives: former State Senator Don Huffines of Dallas and former Texas Republican Party Chair Allen West.

Unlike Governor Abbott, Texas Democrats told CBS 11 they don’t expect O’Rourke to face any major opponents in the March 1 primary.