All eyes are on Rep. Beto O’Rourke CC’95 (D-Texas) who is from El Paso and trying to unseat Sen. Ted Cruz (R). Having earned an English literature degree from the College, O’Rourke is noted for already pulling off two upsets, the first to become a city councilman, and the second, and more important, in his 2012 congressional victory against Silvestre Reyes (D-Texas), a 16-year incumbent.
A recent poll by the Texas Lyceum, a nonpartisan leadership organization, indicated that O’Rourke has a good chance in this upcoming race; a total newcomer, he tied at 30 percent in a match-up against Cruz. In contrast to Cruz, O’Rourke is considered to be liberal and progressive, as well as technologically and economically literate in a way that should appeal to business. Older Democrats like to compare him to the Kennedys, with his politics and his looks. Some millennials are attracted to him because he once played in a punk band, Foss; he founded a software company; and he shares common traits with Bernie Sanders. Like Sanders, O’Rourke promises to pursue his political seat without support from consultants and political action committees.
Financially, O’Rourke may hit some challenges. He currently has $400,000 in supporting funds compared with Cruz’s $4.2 million, a considerable deficit to make up when the cost of running a statewide campaign in Texas historically starts at $1 million a week. Cruz also has a larger following on social media following, with 2.6 million Twitter followers to O’Rourke’s 25,000. Attention is particularly turned to this Senate race because Democrats haven’t won a statewide race in Texas since 1994, and John Cornyn, the senior Texas senator, has categorized O’Rourke’s run as “a suicide mission.”
Read more about O’Rourke’s race for the Senate in The New York Times.
Photo: The Texas Observer.