CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — He's only officially been a candidate for Texas governor for four days, but Beto O'Rourke has already made a campaign stop in the Coastal Bend.
The Democrat, who gave Senator Ted Cruz a run for his money during Cruz's 2018 reelection bid, spoke before a crowd of around two hundred supporters at the La Playa restaurant in Downtown Corpus Christi Thursday night.
Job creation was among the many topics O'Rourke spoke about, and lots of those positions would be created here.
“When we’re talking about jobs, the future of Texas jobs is right here in Corpus Christi," he said. "Of course we have oil and gas which is critically important and we want to protect those jobs. But we also have a growing renewable energy industry here."
O'Rourke has spent the first four days of campaigning entirely in South Texas, an area he needs to win solidly if he wants to unseat Governor Greg Abbott.
In the coming weeks, he'll visit other parts of the Lone Star State.
“We show up everywhere," O'Rourke said. "We write no one off. We take no one for granted. And we keep the focus on the big things — on jobs, on world class public schools, and on common sense things."
He says our state's abortion ban and the law that allows you to carry a gun without a permit are examples of things that aren't common sense, and he'd work to repeal them if elected.
Corpus Christi resident Nelda Garcia liked the candidate's message.
“I think he touched all the points that I have concerns about,” she said.
Several dozen protesters rallied outside the partially walled-off patio where O'Rourke was making his appearance.
They used bullhorns and many of them carried signs or posters supporting former President Donald Trump and criticizing — some through the use of profanity — President Joe Biden.
Former Corpus Christi Mayoral candidate Joe Michael Perez was among them.
“We’re giving (O'Rourke) a nice warm welcome the Texas way," he said. "And just letting him know that we don’t support his policies."
The gubernatorial election takes place in November of 2022.