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O’Rourke, Abbott battle over gun laws in Texas as race heats up | USA TODAY


Gun laws are proving to be a prominent issue in the Texas gubernatorial race between Republican Greg Abbott and Democrat Beto O’Rourke.

RELATED: Beto O’Rourke confronts Texas Gov. Abbott after Uvalde shooting

The race has drawn national attention for O’Rourke, who ran a close senatorial race against Republican Sen. Ted Cruz in 2018 and a brief presidential run in 2020. O’Rourke’s name recognition and firebrand personality have Democrats hopeful he can flip the governor’s mansion.

Based on recent polling, the race is headed for the closest margin a Texas gubernatorial election has seen in more than 20 years. But with Abbott consistently leading O’Rourke by 5 or more percentage points in multiple polls, the debate carries very different stakes for the two candidates.

The race is one of several gubernatorial contests attracting national attention where issues such as abortion, border politics and a flagging economy socked by high inflation have brought federal issues into state campaigns.

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