‘This is the election of our lifetime,’ Democrat Beto O’Rourke says in Fort Worth

Beto O’Rourke talked to supporters at a get-the-vote-out campaign stop at Hoberts Soul Food Canteen. About 100 people gathered in the parking lot to hear O’Rourke speak.
Beto O’Rourke talked to supporters at a get-the-vote-out campaign stop at Hoberts Soul Food Canteen. About 100 people gathered in the parking lot to hear O’Rourke speak. Special to the Star-Telegram

Susan Kuhn couldn’t wait for Democratic U.S. Rep. Beto O’Rourke to arrive Friday at Hoberts Soul Food Canteen on the southeast side of Fort Worth.

“I love him,” the 68-year-old Crowley woman said. “I like what he stands for. He’s honest.

“I think he will be very good for this country.”

She was one of more than 100 people who started chanting “Beto, Beto, Beto,” as O’Rourke pulled up at the Fort Worth restaurant for one of his get-out-the-vote rallies. He is embroiled in a fierce race against incumbent Republican Ted Cruz for the U.S. Senate seat in Texas.

O’Rourke, from El Paso, climbed a ladder to speak to the crowd, thanking everyone for showing up and supporting his campaign.

“I feel so lucky to be alive, so grateful to be doing this with you right now at this incredibly important, defining moment for our country,” he said, his voice growing hoarse. “And at a moment that the country has not been more divided, at least in recent memory, more polarized, where folks are being mean and petty and small with one another.

“You all, the people of Texas, everyone involved in this campaign, ... are showing this country how we can come together,” he said. “And come together not against anyone else, not against another political party, but for one another.”

O’Rourke’s visit came one day after Cruz stopped in Arlington as part of his statewide bus tour to encourage Texans to head to the polls.

More than 1.9 million Texans voted in the first four days of early voting, which runs through Nov. 2.

“He is inspiring and seems to be honest,” said Roseann Giambro, a 70-year-old woman who showed up at the rally Friday. “I think he has a lot of energy and will be good for us.”’

Midterm election

The seat, represented by Republicans since 1993, is labeled a “toss-up,” according to The Cook Political Report.

On Friday, O’Rourke touched on some of his core issues, ranging from supporting teachers and school workers to those in public service, during a speech that lasted around 10 minutes.

He said a woman came up to him in Midlothian this week to tell him, not in a mean way, that she and her friends started a drinking game.

Every time O’Rourke mentions that he has campaigned in all 254 Texas counties, “we all have to take a shot,” he said she told him.

And that’s OK, he said.

Early voting

More than anything, O’Rourke said it’s crucial for everyone to work together for the common interest of this country.

“This is the election of our lifetime,” he said. “I came here today to thank you for what you are doing, for converting the hope we are all feeling at this moment into action, into votes. It’s your decision that will show this country we still have our greatest days ahead.

“I’ve just got to tell you, ... I have never been so energized, never been so encouraged., never been so thrilled, never been feeling those things on so few hours of sleep,” he said. “But you are the energy that is driving this campaign.”

Wendy Dyba, a 47-year-old Benbrook woman, grew up in El Paso and has already cast an early vote in the midterm election.

She came out Friday because she wanted to “support the home team” — and bring her mother to see O’Rourke and vote early.

“I’m very, very happy to see the way he is with all the people,” Dyba’s mother, Maria Dyba said. “It’s up to us to give him our support.”

Anna Tinsley: 817-390-7610, @annatinsley
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