EL PASO, Texas — Beto O'Rourke's future is in the spotlight after his third failed campaign in four years.
While addressing supporters in his hometown of El Paso after losing the Texas gubernatorial race to incumbent Greg Abbott, the Democrat didn't say if he would ever run for office again.
"I don’t know what my role or yours will be going forward, but I’m in this fight for life," O'Rourke said.
However, he did tease that his wife, Amy, could be next in line to run for office.
"Amy has been out on her own doing town hall meetings, conducting rallies, doing interviews on media in Spanish and in English as well," Beto said. "So watch out, next time you see an O'Rourke on the ballot, it might just be Amy O'Rourke."
Amy, who's had a successful career in education, graduated from Williams College in Massachusetts, where she majored in Psychology and minored in Spanish.
She now works for the Council on Regional Economic Expansion and Educational Development on its Choose to Excel program and serves on the board of the organization.
But political experts say they do not expect O’Rourke to disappear from the scene — though his role in future elections could change, going from candidate to organizer or fundraiser before, possibly, running again.
O’Rourke tried to animate Democratic voters over the Uvalde shooting and Abbott signing an abortion ban that made no exceptions in cases of rape or incest.
RELATED: Texas Election Results: Incumbent Greg Abbott projected to defeat Beto O’Rourke in race for governor
Voters are sharply divided over abortion. Roughly equal proportions either favor a law guaranteeing access to legal abortion nationwide or oppose it. But among the 8 in 10 voters who say legal abortion should be allowed if a pregnancy is a result of rape or incest, they are roughly split in their support between Abbott and O’Rourke.
The stakes of the race, O’Rourke said, were crystallized over the summer after a gunman entered Robb Elementary School in May and killed 19 children and two teachers. The shooting was one of the deadliest classroom attacks in U.S. history and continued a grim series of mass shootings in Texas, where Abbott and Republicans have loosened firearm laws and eliminated background checks for concealed handguns.
Parents of some of the Uvalde victims rallied behind O’Rourke and lashed out at Abbott in campaign events and television ads. But even in Uvalde, Abbott was comfortably carrying the surrounding county with more than 60% of the vote.
If Abbott finishes another full term by 2026 he will have served 12 years as governor, second only to Rick Perry, who was in office for 14.