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Democratic Challenger to Ted Cruz’s 2018 Senate Run Emerges

Democratic Challenger to Ted Cruz’s 2018 Senate Run Emerges

“Beto” O’Rourke will formally announce his Senate campaign Friday, March 31

Democratic U.S. Congressman Robert Francis “Beto” O’Rourke will reportedly launch his 2018 Senate campaign tomorrow. The Irish-American Congressman represents Texas’s 16th district in west Texas, home to border town El Paso.

O’Rourke looks to be the most formidable Democratic Senate contender Texas has seen in years. At 44-years-old, O’Rourke is a former punk-rocker who ran a successful insurgent campaign in 2012, ousting a 16-year incumbent in the Democratic primary before going on to win his Congressional seat.

He’s consistently rated one of the top five sexiest members of Congress.

In Washington, O’Rourke serves on the Veteran’s Affairs Committee as well as the Armed Services Committee. He’s an outspoken advocate for veterans affairs and was awarded the 2016 Vietnam Veterans of America Medal of Honor and Legislator of the Year.

Par for the Democratic course, O’Rourke endorsed Hillary for President in 2016 and served as a superdelegate at the Democratic convention. But O’Rourke is far from the average Democrat. Having spoken at length at ending the so-called War on Drugs, O’Rourke is a vocal proponent for the legalizing the recreational use of marijuana. He’s also in favor of term limits.

The El Paso native went on a cross-country, bi-partisan 1,600-mile road trip with fellow Texas Congressman, Republican Rep. Will Hurd earlier this month after their flights were canceled. They drove a Chevy Impala for their “Congressional Cannonball Run”. It was on that trip that Beto decided to run for Senate.

Democrats seldom dump much, if any cash into Texas Senate races for obvious reasons — their money is better spent in states they have a chance of winning.

Beto may find himself in a Democratic Senate primary with U.S. Rep. Joaquin Castro, who plans to make his decision public next month.

O’Rourke faces an uphill battle against Senator Cruz who has the benefit of national fundraising base as well as national recognition from his failed 2016 presidential bid, not to mention the benefit of experience running state-wide and national campaigns.

Cruz’s political ventures since his ascendancy to the U.S. Senate in 2012 have rubbed many-a-Texan and former Cruz supporter the wrong way.

Snubbing Texas’ Senior Senator, John Cornyn, in his 2014 re-election campaign upset a whole swath of moderate Republicans who reluctantly supported the Tea Party insurgent in 2012. At the other end of the spectrum are the die-hard Trump fans who haven’t forgiven Cruz’s “vote your conscience” advice en lieu of a Trump endorsement at the Republican National Convention. The national fundraising power is there, but Cruz’s political capital is not what it was in 2012.

In 2012, Cruz eeked up the Republican primary polls by relentlessly running negative ads against then Lt. Governor David Dewhurst. After defeating Dewhurst in a runoff, and going on to win the general election, Cruz pivoted from opposition candidate to opposition Senator. Outside of the political bubble, Cruz is known more for what he’s against than what he’s for. Which could make for an interesting contrast against an O’Rourke seemingly willing to reach across the aisle instead of maligning it.

Follow Kemberlee on Twitter @kemberleekaye


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Close The Fed | March 30, 2017 at 3:21 pm

Senator Cruz is great. This dem will probably suffer the same fate as what’s-her-name, Barbie Abortion.

I support Trump but wish he hadn’t insulted Cruz’s family in the manner he did. Cruz is willing to die on a political hill for Americans, and we need MORE of that. That is the only way, absent term limits, much of the dem destruction of America will be undone.

You’ve GOT to be joking. Beto O’Rourke? He’ll be crushed in a State-wide race.

He has NO statewide political base whatsoever. NONE. He wins in El Paso because it’s a Democrat MACHINE town. Those “in the know” go to the politicians, hat in hand, and say “how many votes do you need” in a given race and magically that is (roughly) the number of voters that show up or absentee vote.

He has a marginal local following in El Paso because his father was a County Judge who was close to former Governor Bill White, and he leveraged that into serving on the City Council for a couple of terms before running against Silvestre Reyes and squeaking by with JUST enough votes to avoid a run-off election which he likely would have lost, and would have ended his political career.

He’s pro-drug-legalization and in 2009 as a city councilman, offered a resolution for “the Federal Government to initiate an “open and honest debate” about ending the prohibition of illegal drugs.”

He’s routinely voted against must-pass legislation regarding payments to Veterans during government shut-down threats.

Most of the time the Republican Party doesn’t even bother to field a candidate the Democrat stranglehold is so strong.

At least we won’t have to deal with him as the Representative from El Paso anymore.

I suggest that we remind all the wonderful veterans of Texas how he voted against funding for

    [damn it]

    herm2416 in reply to Chuck Skinner. | March 31, 2017 at 8:34 am

    Super synopsis, it’s a shame KK didn’t do the research that you did.

      It’s not so much “research” as having lived in his represented are for the last 6 years, and the information you pick up when you’re plugged into the local scene. I moved to El Paso in 2009, and only moved to the Dallas area in November of 2016.

      The Chairman of the local Democrat Party was my legal practice mentor after I officially joined the El Paso Bar Association in 2012.

      I was also plugged into a lot of Veteran’s groups, because I used to give an enormous discount to my active military and veteran clients of my law practice, as well as doing a lot of freebie work with “Lawyers for Patriots” (a division of Texas Lawyers for Texas Veterans).

      I got to hear A LOT about O’Rourke’s office not pulling its weight when Veterans had issues with the El Paso VA hospital.

LOL! Well, somebody had to do it, and he might be entertaining. Glad it’s not going to be some retread Harpy like they’ve been running.

For those who don’t know a lot about Texas, allow me to put this into perspective: Since the State was founded, NO ONE from El Paso has EVER been elected to a statewide office! No kidding, and there’s a good reason for this. (caveat; of course there is a congressman from El Paso, and a State Senator, but those are regional elections)

But Senator, Governor, Attorney General, Lieutenant Governor – NEVER from El Paso. The reason:

I drive through El Paso occasionally, when I take a trip to Phoenix. It is WAY out there – from where I live in East Texas, it’s an 11 hour drive just to get to El Paso, and it’s not that much closer to any of the major population centers. Even San Antonio is 8 hours drive away. So this makes El Paso kind of it’s own little island out there in the middle of the Chihuahuan desert, nominally owing allegiance to Texas, but for all intents and purposes it’s own little world that has little to do with anyone else in the state. Most Texans view it as a piece of Mexico which we ended up holding title to due to a quirk of history.

Long story short – El Paso has virtually no connection at all to the rest of the state, and that is why no one from El Paso usually bothers with running for a statewide office. Not unless they’re young, could use the publicity, and the party is so short-handed that they couldn’t talk anyone else into signing up for a political suicide mission.

    ss396 in reply to Tom Servo. | March 31, 2017 at 1:20 pm

    Not to mention that they’re on a different time zone for that little sector over there. Not their fault, ’cause it is wa-a-ay out there, but still…

    There have been movements off-and-on to cede that little sector to New Mexico.

“He’s consistently rated one of the top five sexiest members of Congress.”

By who? Rabbits and Squirrels?

casualobserver | March 30, 2017 at 4:04 pm

I have to think Cruz’s favorability is pretty high on TX. Short some surprising political smear, I’d bet on Cruz by a long shot.

Ted may be on the US Supreme Court by then!

If Ted Cruz takes another job the republican will run governor Abbott or Dan Patrick– who I hate. Abbott could beat ANY dem.

    Tom Servo in reply to sdharms. | March 30, 2017 at 5:35 pm

    Agree with you about Dan Patrick – I voted against him in the primary, wanted either Patterson or Staples to win that one.

No. Chance.

He reminds me of a very young Bobby Kennedy. Yeah the dork that Sirhan Sirhan made into a martyr.

Good gracious, that boy could eat corn on the cob through a picket fence!

legalizehazing | March 30, 2017 at 8:22 pm

Posted this on the notorious The_Donald.. great comments.

Memes write themselves.”

‘Ah yes. Texas Democrats. Also known as the rooster party because “any cuck’lldooooo’

Sorry had to share


If he fails in his Senate bid, I’ll hire him to feed my cats while I’m away.

The pay is $10 per day, and I’ll need a signed form from his Mom giving him permission.

For a young guy, he’s sure long in the tooth.

Too bad for Bento obamacare doesn’t cover dental.

The Friendly Grizzly | March 31, 2017 at 3:52 am

I guess compared to Nancy Pelosi or Maxine Waters he’s sexy. In The real world that photo says beta male, and his most common phrase spoken in the home is, “yes, dear!”.

He’s consistently rated one of the top five sexiest members of Congress.
Clearly a priority /

buckeyeminuteman | March 31, 2017 at 9:38 am

I’d vote for Cruz again any day of the week. And twice on Sunday.

Former Punk Rocker? He’ll fit right in with the libtard left.

conservative tarheel | March 31, 2017 at 10:38 am

since he reaches across the aisle
he and McCain can be BBF …

I come to this blog for intelligent, political discourse. Making fun of someone’s appearance, whether it’s Trump’s hair, or this fellow’s teeth, is juvenile and beneath us.

Prohibition is ending all over the country for many reasons. The main one being – it doesn’t work.

He might gain some traction on that over Cruz.

And one other point. Support for Prohibition is concentrated in the over 65 cohort. And as you may not know – they are dying off.

So why is age a factor? Well Prohibition has been enforced most heavily on the under 65 crowd. They have grown up with a distaste for police state tactics. Alcohol Prohibition had a similar effect – but it didn’t last as long.

    Old0311 in reply to MSimon. | March 31, 2017 at 5:00 pm

    You’re not from Texas are you? You might be right about us old goobers, but we have sired lots of conservatives children who have done the same. The pretty boy will be about as popular with Texas voters as abortion Wendy. Just sit back and pop a top on a cold Texas Red and think about life.

      Even Texas is not too happy with Prohibition.

      As you point out – Beto probably won’t win. But that is this year. Give it another 4 or 6 years and things will change. And that change is built in.

      BTW police state tactics were very unpopular with Americans when I was growing up in the 50s. That sort of thing was associated with the Nazis.

      It is quite a shame to see it popular among a significant number of Republicans. Giving up Constitutional protections for a failing fight against drugs does not seem worthwhile to me. YMMV.

I do not consider him being one of “The Five Sexist Men” in congress to be a qualification. But then I’m an Independent Voter that looks up records and silly things like that.

I would expect Ted Cruz to make mincemeat of this fella if they ever had a debate.

About tops it all: an Anglo adopting a Hispanic nickname to run&win in El Paso. Flavor of the month. This guy has clearly been told that he resembles Bobby Kennedy. You can see his expressions are forced.