Texas governor candidate Beto O’Rourke won’t say if he wants President Joe Biden to campaign for him in the Texas gubernatorial race amid dwindling support for the administration and reports of growing tensions in the West Wing.
O’Rourke announced his campaign for Texas governor last week, targeting the incumbent Gov. Greg Abbott who is seeking a third term.
When asked in a CNN interview if he would welcome Biden to travel to Texas and campaign with him, O’Rourke sidestepped a direct answer, saying his campaign is “not going to be about anyone from outside of our state.”
When asked the question again, O’Rourke reiterated that his campaign would remain focused on Texas and not national politics.
“This campaign in Texas is not going to be about Joe Biden. It’s not going to be about Donald Trump. It’s not going to be about anyone from outside of our state. This is going to be about the people of Texas and what the people of Texas want,” O’Rourke said.
“And I have told you, they want the big things, like jobs, great schools, and making sure everyone can see a doctor. But they also want to see some competence in their government,” he added, noting the electricity grid failure earlier this year that left millions without power and hundreds dead.
When asked again if that means he would not want the president to join him in his campaign, O’Rourke explained, “It means that I’m focused on Texas and on my fellow Texans. Those are the people most important to me. There’s no politician, there’s no other person from outside of this state who can help to change the course of this election, for better or for worse.”
O’Rourke’s reluctance to invite Biden to campaign with him may signal broader concerns among Democrats that associating with the president could backfire on their chances to secure key positions in 2022.
The governor candidate’s comments come as Biden’s support ratings among American’s continues to drop. A Quinnipiac University poll showed 36 percent of respondents approve of Biden’s handling of his job, compared to 53 percent who disapprove, signaling the lowest level of public support for the president in Quinnipiac polling since he took office in the White House in January.
Meanwhile, a Marquette University Law School poll showed 49 percent of respondents approve of Biden’s handling of his job, while 51 percent disapprove.
O’Rourke comments also come following the Democratic Party’s loss in the race for the governorship of Virginia earlier this month, when Republican Glenn Youngkin defeated Democrat Terry McAuliffe on Nov. 2, despite the latter receiving campaign support from Biden, Vice President Harris and other leading Democratic figures
The contest in Virginia was one of the most closely watched races in the off-year election and was viewed by some as a referendum on the Biden presidency.
Added to that are reports of growing tensions in the West Wing between the President and Vice President Kamala Harris, with some of her staff members claiming that she is not being “adequately prepared or positioned, and instead is being sidelined.”
The vice president has also been noticeably absent from the spotlight since taking up her role nearly 11 months ago, adding further speculation that she is being sidelined.
Harris herself saw her approval ratings drop to 28 percent, 10 percent below that of President Joe Biden’s, as per a Suffolk/USA Today poll. The same poll showed that 51 percent of Americans disapprove of the job Harris is doing while 21 percent are undecided.