Two days after taking the stage to rally Texas Democrats at their state convention, the party’s U.S. Senate candidate, Beto O’Rourke, told the Star-Telegram he feels like he’s currently winning in his race against incumbent Republican Ted Cruz.
The El Paso congressman made the comment during a Facebook Live conversation Sunday morning after running 2 miles along Fort Worth trails with several hundred North Texas supporters.
He’s now met with voters in all 254 counties in Texas and said face-to-face meetings are part of his unconventional plan for winning, even though voters haven’t elected a Democrat statewide for more than 20 years.
“No one can be written off,” he said, mentioning that over 400 attended a recent town hall meeting he held in rural Cooke County, where 83 percent of voters cast ballots for Donald Trump in 2016.
“That human-human connection without PACS (political action committees), without corporations, without special interests — just people, the people of Texas — is the right way to run. I believe it’s the only way to win, and it sure feels like we’re winning right now,” he said.
As of May, even without PAC and corporate money, O’Rourke had raised more than $13 million in campaign contributions. Cruz reported raising about $11 million.
O’Rourke is unusual in that he rarely criticizes his opponent Ted Cruz during campaign stops and only did so during our interview when we asked what question he would like Cruz to answer.
He asked it this way: “When are you going to deliver for the people of Texas, and why should we send you back in this position of public trust when you haven’t been able to do that before? When you shut down the government for 16 days instead of working together to find solutions and common ground?”
O’Rourke said he’s not running against a political party or person as much as he’s running to make big “aspirational changes,” by providing better access to health care, adopting a bipartisan immigration plan, supporting teachers and ensuring everyone looking for a job can find work with a decent, living wage.
When asked about Cruz’s implying O’Rourke has a socialist agenda, he said he doesn’t, and he isn’t going to engage in petty name-calling.
“We are for doing great big bold, ambitious, aspirational work we can only do when we put our differences aside.”
During the 13-minute interview O’Rourke also talked about his second trip to the Tornillo tent cities, where he talked with immigrant children separated from their parents; what’s wrong with the current administration; and what he tells Republicans about why we don’t need a border wall.