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Beto O'Rourke kicks off his gubernatorial tour in San Antonio

Beto O'Rourke meets with San Antonio Mayor Ron Nirenberg.
David Martin Davies
Texas Public Radio
Texas Governor candidate Beto O'Rourke meets with San Antonio Mayor Ron Nirenberg.

One day after announcing that he’s running for governor, former Democratic Congressman Beto O’Rourke launched his cross-Texas campaign trail in San Antonio.

O’Rourke’s first public event as a candidate for governor was hosted by the San Antonio chapter of Communications Workers of America. The local union has more than 1,600 members according to its website. The group said O'Rourke would lean on organized labor in the year-long campaign.

The crowd greeted O’Rourke with enthusiasm as he delivered a speech that emphasized the need to build his support across party lines.

“We’re going to get back to the big things again that united us. That bring us together. That get us past the division, the smallness, the meanness of this moment,” he said.

O’Rourke also took direct aim at Gov. Greg Abbott focusing in on his bounty anti-abortion bill, permitless carry and COVID policies that banned masks and vaccine mandates.

San Antonio Mayor Ron Nirenberg joined O’Rourke on stage Tuesday morning. Nirenberg, who has generally avoided overly partisan politics in the past, effectively gave the former El Paso congressman his endorsement.

"We thank you for being a friend to our city. We have a lot of work to do up in Austin don’t we?" Nirenberg said. "We’ve been pulling together to get through, and here we are today to support somebody who we know is going to be working with us instead of against us.”

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David Martin Davies can be reached at dmdavies@tpr.org and on Twitter at @DavidMartinDavi