Beto O’Rourke, the three-term Congressman from El Paso is running behind in the polls, despite raising an enormous amount of money and gathering huge crowds. His campaigns have been able to impress even the most silent and less enthusiastic observers. Republicans are voting early at a faster clip than O’Rourke’s fellow Democrats.
Biggest fans of Beto O’Rourke are afraid that he might not be able to break the nation’s longest losing streak for Democrats. While he might be losing his bid for Senate, he surely is winning in an effort to reshape the politics in Texas.
Over a period of time, O’Rourke has inspired various political newcomers with his optimistic approach. Even if his campaign comes up short, O’Rourke’s coattails could help carry Democrats in the eight Texas House districts the non-partisan Cook Political Report lists as in play.
One of the senior Republicans offered begrudging respect by saying, “The amount of money he has, it’s obviously going to elect a lot of races, from House seats down to judgeships. By turning out voters for himself, he’s turning out voters for other Democrats.”
“I think he has pretty good coattails. All of our ticket is not as strong as he is,” said Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson, a Dallas-area Democrat.
Talking about the Dallas – area district, which for the last 22 years is being represented by Republican Pete Sessions, was won by him in 1996 by just 53 percent votes. In 2016, he won with 71 percent vote. The seat of the chairman of the powerful House Rules Committee, currently belonging to Sessions, has been a long dream for the Democrats.
However, after Colin Allred, an attorney in the Obama Administration, joined the party, the dream looks achievable.
The polls have gone up and down recently, with Republicans claiming that Sessions is on safe side as compared to what he was at during mid-summer. In 2012, Mitt Romney carried the district with 57 percent support. Four years later, Hilary Clinton continued with 48 percent. However, Allred, who is standing for the first time, has already raised close to $5 million, much more than Sessions.
Connie Britton, an actress and a producer, and Julian Castro, former Housing and Urban Development Secretary, were seen supporting Allred at on Sunday afternoon during a rally conducted in a lobby of a theatre. Congressman and civil rights icon John Lewis was also seen standing by him.
“It’s not just Democrats and Republicans on the ballot. It’s not just left and right and ideology on the ballot. It’s right versus wrong. What’s going on right now is wrong, we are being led in the wrong direction,” Allred said.
While Allred’s supporters nodded along, one of the volunteers, Tom Ervin said: “This is going to be close, but we’re working hard.” Ervin, who was wearing a “Beto” hat and an Allred campaign t-shirt, further added: “I didn’t know Murphy, Texas, existed until I knocked on doors there.”
Heather French who was also present at the rally said, “People think Texas is solid red. It’s really not, but we have to show up.”
This proves why senior officials from both the parties are looking at districts like these for a potential shift.
James Dickey, Chairman of Republican Party of Texas said, “When you look at the changing residency in his district, it is no surprise that this was going to be a district in which there was a challenge. One of the blessings of living in Texas is the opportunity and growth that we have. One of the challenges we have in Texas is we have people who move in from states where the policies are completely different and yet decide, ‘Boy, it’d be nice if Texas implemented them.’”
Possibly the first Democrat to the Senate from Texas since 1988 could be elected due to the Beto O’Rourke enthusiasm. There is no argument that O’Rourke isn’t a factor in why the state is in play.