The Back MicThe Back Mic: Abbott Up 11% on O’Rourke, Biden Invited to Border by Hidalgo Democrat, Fort Bend Officials Spar

This week — Beto O’Rourke is down double digits in a new poll, a Hidalgo County judge invites the president to the border, and a lawmaker objects to an invite extended to Disney.
May 6, 2022

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New Poll Puts Abbott 11 Points Ahead of O’Rourke

With seven months remaining in the Texas gubernatorial race, a new poll shows Gov. Greg Abbott up 11 points over Democratic challenger Beto O’Rourke.

Conducted from April 14-22, the University of Texas-Texas Politics Project poll interviewed 1,200 registered voters.

Unsurprisingly, both candidates pull in a vast majority of their party’s voters. But Abbott leads O’Rourke among independents by 14 percent. The RealClearPolitics polling average, a conglomeration of all polls on the question, puts Abbott up 6.8 points on O’Rourke.

Below are the newest poll’s net favorable ratings for the two gubernatorial candidates and other political figures:

The Texan Tumbler

  • Abbott, +6
  • O’Rourke, -9
  • Donald Trump, -2
  • Dan Patrick, EVEN
  • Ken Paxton, +1
  • George P. Bush, -7

President Joe Biden’s job approval rating is at -17 percent.

Republicans lead in the generic ballot tests at both the state and federal legislative levels. Republicans best Democrats by 9 percent in the congressional test while state Republicans outpace Democrats by 8 percent.

Hidalgo Official Invites President Biden to Tour the Border

Richard Cortez, Hidalgo County judge, invited President Joe Biden to tour Texas’ southern border this week.

“As a border community, Hidalgo County has been particularly impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent economic disruptions,” Cortez wrote in a letter to the White House. “For many months our healthcare facilities operated at maximum capacity and our frontline medical personnel worked tirelessly to save lives.”

“It is with that in mind that I write to invite you to visit our border community before your administration makes any substantial changes to our current border policy.”

The Biden administration has planned to suspend Title 42, a Trump-era border policy that orders federal officials to quickly deport illegal immigrants  due to COVID-19 concerns. The policy is intended to prevent the spread of communicable disease.

A federal judge blocked the administration’s plan to rescind Title 42 last month.

“If we continue on the current path that ceases enforcement of the current order, the negative consequences are expected to be real and immediate for American Citizens living in border communities across the Southwest,” Cortez concluded.

President Biden has not visited the border but Vice President Kamala Harris visited El Paso back in July after extensive criticism of the administration’s absence.

Lawmaker Spars with County Judge Over Disney, Twitter Invitation

State Rep. Gary Gates (R-Richmond) took issue with Fort Bend County Judge KP George’s open invitation to Disney to build operations in his county after the entertainment giant clashed with the State of Florida.

George, a Democrat, appealed to Disney saying, “While you, your company, employees, and diverse fans face authoritarian, anti-business, and culture war attacks from extremists in Florida, we in Fort Bend are more than ready to welcome the [Disney and Twitter families] with thousands of good paying jobs and billions of dollars of investments.”

Gates hit back in a letter on Wednesday taking issue with George’s framing of Florida’s actions to remove Disney’s special district status. The maneuver came in response to the company’s public disapproval of the Florida’s which law prohibits the classroom discussion of sexual topics with kindergarten through third grade.

“I take issue with Judge George’s representation that his practices are pro-business, and that the county’s pro-family atmosphere would be honored by Disney’s presence given their recent efforts to usurp parent-directed sex education in schools,” Gates wrote. “His invitation to Disney compromises, and does not endorse, our county’s long history and dedication to see both business and family flourish here.”

Gates then doubled down on his commitment to file legislation about sexually-charged classroom discussions, specifically citing kindergarten through fourth grade.

“I endeavor to restrict all sex education and protect the rights of every parent and their ability to safeguard children from classroom instruction to sexualize them,” he concluded.


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Brad Johnson

Brad Johnson is a senior reporter for The Texan and an Ohio native who graduated from the University of Cincinnati in 2017. He is an avid sports fan who most enjoys watching his favorite teams continue their title drought throughout his cognizant lifetime. In his free time, you may find Brad quoting Monty Python productions and trying to calculate the airspeed velocity of an unladen swallow.