No Democrat has won statewide office in Texas since 1994. This month, Robert Francis “Beto” O’Rourke almost did, losing the race for a US Senate seat to Republican incumbent Ted Cruz by an astonishingly close margin.
Raised on the border, O’Rourke is fluent in Mexican culture and liberal values. Still, he ran on a strategically bipartisan message of hope and unity. He rejected money from political action committees, raising massive amounts of funding from individual donors within and beyond the state. He mobilized young and minority voters. And though O’Rourke’s voters couldn’t get him to the Senate, they did make history.
One sentence written by Matthew Walther in The Week neatly sums up how progressives view O’Rourke’s results: “It is worth pointing out that Republican Sen. Ted Cruz did not win re-election in Texas this week. His Democratic opponent just lost.”
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