U.S. Rep. Beto O’Rourke, D-El Paso, has invited U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, to participate in six debates with O’Rourke across Texas, two of them in Spanish, during their U.S. Senate race.
O’Rourke campaign manager Jody Casey made the proposal in a letter last week to Cruz’s senior staff, adding that the debates should have “media reach to all twenty markets in the state.”
“I would like to begin direct coordination of the debates with your campaign team between now and May 10th,” Casey wrote to Cruz advisers Bryan English and Eric Hollander in the April 24 letter. “Please advise my best point of contact on the Cruz campaign team.”
Cruz previously suggested he is open to debating O’Rourke. Cruz’s campaign said in response to the letter that it was exploring its options.
Regardless of what the campaigns ultimately agree to, debates in Spanish between the candidates seem unlikely. While O’Rourke is fluent in the language, Cruz is not known as a proficient speaker.
After a campaign event Tuesday afternoon in San Antonio, Cruz admitted to reporters that his Spanish “remains lousy” before offering a sentence in the language: “I understand almost everything, but I can’t speak like I want to.” Cruz, whose father came to America from Cuba, chalked up his shoddy Spanish skills to “the curse of the second-generation immigrant,” adding that he suspects many in the Hispanic community can relate.
“A debate in Spanish would not be very good because my Spanish isn’t good enough, but I look forward to debating Congressman O’Rourke,” Cruz said.
— Jolt Action (@JoltAction) April 29, 2018
A crowd of more than 300 people applauded as U.S. Rep. Beto O’Rourke spoke at the Angelo State University for a town hall meeting Friday.
“This is my third visit to San Angelo and I’m always welcomed so warmly,” said O’Rourke, who is seeking to unseat U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz.
“Republicans, Democrats, Independents alike have been coming together around the big issues for this country. Whether that’s jobs, immigration or great public schools,” he said.
Since launching his campaign more than a year ago, O’Rourke has traveled the state and visited more than 240 counties.
“I take inspiration from those meetings, from the people who stand up sometimes in the face of crisis in their family, a struggle to find a job or pay for their education or (make sure) their kids have the tools to be successful in life,” O’Rourke said.
Enjoyed being back in San Angelo tonight. Great town hall discussion about immigration, healthcare, how we better serve our veterans, and allowing Texas to lead the way. pic.twitter.com/NRsxWhQuE3
— Beto O'Rourke (@BetoORourke) April 28, 2018
Beto O’Rourke speaks during a recent town hall in Denton. He is talking to voters across the Lone Star State, not just the metropolitan areas, almost all of which have become solidly Democratic; and based on polling, his strategy is working.
In a recent commentary in the Houston Chronicle (“The NYT doesn’t know barbacoa mixta …; Nor does its columnist get Texas voters”), writer Roy Reynolds tries to paint the groundswell of support for Beto O’Rourke as a façade invented by East Coast liberals. By every metric, that’s simply false.
I’m a native Texan, and this November, I’ll be voting for Congressman Beto O’Rourke as our next U.S. senator. I won’t be alone in casting my ballot for O’Rourke.
In a recent poll on the Senate race, conducted by the pollsters at Quinnipiac University, Texas voters narrowly preferred incumbent Ted Cruz to O’Rourke, 47 percent to 44 percent. Earlier polls commissioned by O’Rourke-allied organizations also indicated only a single-digit gap in support between the candidates.
O’Rourke is campaigning in a way that no statewide candidate, Democratic or Republican, has in recent memory: holding town halls in more than 200 of our 254 counties and showing up where no other politician has bothered to visit.
Last month, O’Rourke campaigned at Texas Tech in Lubbock. In February, he stopped by heavily blue McAllen along the border and the less-friendly Kerrville in the Hill Country. He’s even visited Alpine in the heart of the Big Bend area, not once but twice. O’Rourke is talking to voters across the Lone Star State, not just the metropolitan areas, almost all of which have become solidly Democratic, and based on polling, his strategy is working.
There are more than five months of campaigning to go until the November election, and with O’Rourke on a trajectory to victory, he has the resources to keep it up. Last FEC reporting period, O’Rourke’s campaign raised over $6.7 million, 70 percent of which came from Texas, more than double that of Cruz’s campaign, eliminating the incumbent’s prior cash-on-hand advantage.
This isn’t a sugarplum dream, as Reynolds suggests. It’s a highly organized and effective campaign that is winning the hearts and minds of Texas voters ready for a change. O’Rourke has a real shot at being elected to the Senate, and he’s pulling other Democrats at every level of government along with him.
We closed out seven amazing days on the road with a town hall in Uvalde. You encouraged and energized us mile after mile and community after community. Grateful to be running this grassroots campaign with all of you. pic.twitter.com/mzM2ecvGjI
— Beto O'Rourke (@BetoORourke) May 4, 2018
A new Quinnipiac polls released last week shows the U.S. Senate race in Texas is too close to call. And this weekend both men were in Houston holding events just a few miles away from each other.
Congressman Beto O’Rourke grilled hot dogs while vying for votes and inside his Sunnyside town hall event he brought in hundreds of supporters and curious voters who wanted to find out what the man they call “Beto” was all about.
“I feel like I get to be a part of history,” said O’Rourke.
Unseating Senator Cruz will be a tall task. No Democrat has won a Senate seat in Texas in 30 years. But that new poll has an extra step in O’Rourke’s step. Its shows him trailing Cruz by three points, 47 to 44, within the poll’s margin of error.
“That poll shows that this is possible,” said O’Rourke. “If we just focus on the people of this state there’s nothing stopping us. “The people of this state believe in us, they are making this happen and they will be responsible for making this happen on the 6th of November.”
An amazing first town hall in Carrizo Springs! Great people, ideas, and discussions about how we work together for Texas. Thanks to those in Dimmit County for welcoming us. pic.twitter.com/UbkYqvGCEC
— Beto O'Rourke (@BetoORourke) May 4, 2018
It is a familiar topic for O’Rourke, a Democratic congressman who has earned a national reputation as an advocate for marijuana legalization since his days on the El Paso City Council. Yet it hadn’t become an issue in the Senate contest until now, as Cruz, the Republican incumbent, ramps up his general election crusade to paint O’Rourke as too liberal for Texas.
Cruz opened the new front Tuesday as he seized on a story published by the Daily Caller, a conservative news site, that claimed O’Rourke “once advocated for the legalization of all narcotics.” The story cited an episode on the El Paso City Council in 2009 where O’Rourke successfully — and controversially — amended a resolution about the war on drugs to urge for an “honest, open national debate on ending the prohibition on narcotics.”
“Reasonable minds, perhaps, can differ on whether marijuana should be illegal, but what Congressman O’Rourke introduced was a resolution for the City Council to take up legalizing all narcotics, legalizing everything, legalizing heroin, legalizing deadly opioids,” Cruz told reporters after a campaign event in San Antonio as his Twitter account sent out a similar line of attack.
Despite Cruz’s telling, the resolution did not explicitly call for legalizing all drugs but rather for a conversation about it. O’Rourke said as much at a Jan. 6, 2009, council meeting, video of which accompanied the Daily Caller story.
“I’m not saying that we need to do that – to end the prohibition,” O’Rourke said. “I think we need to have a serious discussion about doing that, and that may, in the end, be the right course of action.”
Beautiful night. Great people. Thank you, Laredo! Amazing to be back. pic.twitter.com/cDkaXwkz04
— Beto O'Rourke (@BetoORourke) May 3, 2018
A democrat is looking to turn a red state blue.
In March, Beto O’Rourke garnered the democratic nomination for U.S. Senate in Texas. He’ll face republican incumbent Ted Cruz in the November election and, so far, he’s out fundraised the senator.
“I think there is something very special happening in Texas right now,” O’Rourke said.
If that something special is change, he’ll be the first democrat to represent Texas in the U.S. Senate since 1993.
O’Rourke is familiar with the border, having served as the 16th District Congressman for El Paso since 2012. On Tuesday, he made his way down to the Rio Grande Valley to meet with those who live just miles away from Mexico. It’s an area that’s now staffed with more National Guard troops after President Trump ordered them to help secure the U.S.–Mexico border.
“The border knows better than anyone. We don’t need a wall to keep us safe. We don’t need the National Guard. What we need to do is make the most of those that are in our communities; ensure that they feel comfortable working with local law enforcement,” said O’Rourke.
Coming together under a beautiful sky in McAllen to take questions from those we want to represent. pic.twitter.com/WW7DpWAf4S
— Beto O'Rourke (@BetoORourke) May 2, 2018
With Bobby Pulido and Little Joe. With Edinburg and Hidalgo County. Coming together for good music, for a better future, and for Texas. pic.twitter.com/zJ5JpjOjdX
— Beto O'Rourke (@BetoORourke) May 2, 2018
The same day Democratic Senate candidate Beto O’Rourke confirmed he sent a letter challenging Incumbent Republican Sen. Ted Cruz to six debates, including two in Spanish, O’Rourke stepped on a stage here with a mariachi band before a rally of 350 people.
With supporters shouting “I love you,” O’Rourke dove into the national issues that are manifesting in the Rio Grande Valley.
“Listen, this right now is our moment,” he said. “At a time that you have a president who is trying to build a 2,000-mile, 30-foot high, $30 billion wall between us and our closest neighbor, our friend, our partner, our way of life, Mexico; at a time that they try to make us scared of one another because of where we are from, or what we look like, or who we are, even though immigrants are committing crimes at a far lower rate than native-born Americans. … We are stronger, we are safer and yes, we are more secure.”
O’Rourke met with local leaders at the intimate gathering in Brownsville, with the candidate mostly listening. Brownsville Mayor Tony Martinez, U.S. Rep. Filemon Vela, D-Brownsville, state Rep. Eddie Lucio III, D-Brownsville, Cameron County Sheriff Omar Lucio and Cameron County Clerk Sylvia Garza-Perez, among about 10 others, gave O’Rourke ideas and feedback at the new barbecue joint.
Afterward, O’Rourke held a town hall meeting at Brownsville’s lone Veterans of Foreign Wars hall in front of 250 people, according to his campaign.
It's the people of Sunnyside, the people of Houston, the people of Texas leading this campaign every step of the way. pic.twitter.com/TQUOAXseb8
— Beto O'Rourke (@BetoORourke) April 30, 2018
CANDIDATE BETO O'ROURKE . . . TX-USSEN . . . MAN OF THE POEPLE . . . !! pic.twitter.com/3l4nId71rN
— Dems4Congress2020 #2020NEXT (@Dems4Congress18) May 3, 2018
El Paso will be in a better position to encourage airlines to offer nonstop flights out of the city’s airport if a proposal from U.S. Rep. Beto O’Rourke makes it to the president’s desk and is signed.
The proposal, which passed through the House on Friday as part of a larger aviation regulation bill, would let El Paso International Airport qualify for federal grants that cover marketing costs associated with wooing airlines to offer more direct flights. The grants are only accessible to certain small airports.
“This bipartisan bill would open the door for airport hubs like El Paso to apply for grants to help attract more carriers, more travelers, and more flight routes — funding they aren’t eligible for right now,” O’Rourke, D-El Paso, said in a statement.
“This is a great example of what’s possible when we put partisan differences aside and focus on working together to represent our communities,”
Feliz Día del niño! pic.twitter.com/jVKhYq7J6C
— Beto O'Rourke (@BetoORourke) May 1, 2018