Beto O'Rourke's Odds of Winning Texas Governor's Race After Uvalde Shooting

Former U.S. Representative Beto O'Rourke's odds of winning the race for Texas governor later this year remain poor despite the Democrat's recent high-profile clashes with Governor Greg Abbott over gun control.

O'Rourke has offered strong criticism of the Republican governor and his GOP colleagues following the deadly shooting at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas that left 19 children and two teachers dead.

However, in deep red Texas, Abbott still enjoys a major advantage and bookmakers told Newsweek that the incumbent governor's odds were still better than his Democratic challenger's.

Betfair, which operates the world's largest online betting market, gave Republicans odds of 1/7 to win the 2022 governor's race, while Democrats' odds stood at 9/2 and the bookmaker was offering 33/1 odds on any other candidate.

Irish bookmakers Paddy Power gave O'Rourke odds of 4/1 to win the race and Abbott's odds stood at 1/7 in what may be seen as a good sign for the governor who's seeking a third term.

"We haven't seen any major changes in the last week, given opinions in Texas along party lines are pretty fixed at this stage," a Paddy Power spokesperson told Newsweek.

Political betting is illegal in the U.S. but it is common in the U.K., Ireland and in other jurisdictions. The current odds on the governor's race seem to indicate an uphill struggle for O'Rourke.

Recent polling also appears to show a difficult path to victory for the Democrat. A poll from The Dallas Morning News and the University of Texas at Tyler published on May 15 found that Abbott had 46 percent support and O'Rourke had 39 percent.

O'Rourke has accused Abbott of inaction on gun violence and recently interrupted a press conference the governor was giving with other Republican officials in Uvalde and accused Abbott of "doing nothing."

He later told reporters that some solutions to gun violence would include banning the sale of AR-15s, red flag laws and universal background checks. The alleged Uvalde shooter, 18-year-old Salvador Ramos, had reportedly purchased two AR-15-style rifles for his 18th birthday.

It remains to be seen if the tragic shooting will have a major impact on the gubernatorial race but Abbott has faced criticism in the wake of the killings.

The governor caused controversy by briefly attending a fundraiser on Tuesday after being informed of the shootings, and he decided to cancel an in-person appearance at a National Rifle Association (NRA) event in Houston on Friday amid criticism from O'Rourke and others.

Abbott also said at a press conference in Uvalde on Friday that he had been "misled" about the law enforcement response to the shooting and said he was "livid" to be given the wrong information.

He had initially praised the police response but there has been anger and criticism over contradictory information from authorities and the apparent failure of police to enter the classroom where the shooter was holed up for more than 40 minutes.

However, no Democrat has been elected governor of Texas in more than 30 years and the odds are not currently in O'Rourke's favor.

O'Rourke narrowly lost to Republican incumbent Ted Cruz in a 2018 U.S. Senate election in Texas.

Beto O'Rourke Speaks to the Press
Democratic gubernatorial candidate Beto O'Rourke speaks to the media after interrupting a press conference held by Texas Gov. Greg Abbott in Uvalde, Texas on May 25, 2022. O'Rourke has strongly criticized Abbott's approach to gun control. CHANDAN KHANNA/AFP/Getty Images