“It’s not going to be easy. But it is possible,” O’Rourke said in an interview with The Associated Press ahead of his announcement. “I do believe, very strongly, from listening to people in this state that they’re very unhappy with the direction that (Gov.) Greg Abbott has taken Texas.”

 Democrat Beto O’Rourke is running for governor of Texas, pursuing a blue breakthrough in America’s biggest red state after his star-making U.S. Senate campaign in 2018 put him closer than anyone else in decades, the Associated Press reports.

O’Rourke’s announcement Monday kicks off a third run for office in as many election cycles. He burst into the 2020 Democratic presidential primary as a party phenomenon but dropped out just eight months later as money and fanfare dried up.

“It’s not going to be easy. But it is possible,” O’Rourke said in an interview with The Associated Press ahead of his announcement. “I do believe, very strongly, from listening to people in this state that they’re very unhappy with the direction that (Gov.) Greg Abbott has taken Texas.”

O’Rourke’s return sets up one of 2022’s highest-profile — and potentially most expensive — races for governor. Abbott, a Republican, is seeking a third term and has put Texas on the vanguard of hard-right policymaking in state capitals and emerged as a national figure. A challenge from O’Rourke, a media-savvy former congressman with a record of generating attention and cash, could tempt Democrats nationwide to pour millions of dollars into trying — again — to flip Texas.

Still, O’Rourke is coming back an underdog. Although the state’s growing population of Latino, young and college-educated voters is a good for Democrats, the party’s spending blitz in the 2020 presidential election left them with nothing.

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