Cruz, O’Rourke call high early voting turnout ‘encouraging’, ‘defining moment of truth’
Republican U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz and his Democratic challenger U.S. Rep. Beto O’Rourke barnstormed through North Texas Friday, asking voters for their support.
Cruz, on the last day of early voting, stopped in Fort Worth and stressed he’s reaching out to Republicans, Democrats, Libertarians — all Texans. Election Day is Tuesday.
“Come join us. We welcome you with open arms,” he told a crowd of around 300 gathered at the Cendera Center. “Come join a common sense super majority across the state of Texas.”
Cruz praised Tarrant County as the “biggest, reddest county in the biggest, reddest state,” but said he needs support here and around the state to win his re-election bid.
Both Cruz and O’Rourke have said Tarrant County — which has remained red through the years as nearly every other major urban county has gone blue — is key in this year’s U.S. Senate race because it has long been considered a bellwether for Texas.
“We have to win Tarrant County to win [Texas],” O’Rourke has told the Star-Telegram. “As Tarrant County goes, so goes the state.
“But I’m not convinced that Tarrant County is red.”
Cruz on Friday went through his checklist of why he should gain Texans’ votes: He’s worked to lower taxes, reduce regulations, support Brett Kavanaugh in his Supreme Court nomination and oppose “the train wreck that is Obamacare.”
He accused O’Rourke, based on seeing a video from Project Veritas, of letting staffers use campaign funds to help migrants traveling in a “caravan” through Mexico.
In a response to Cruz’s claims, O’Rourke sent out a statement.
“Ted Cruz pushes fear and paranoia because he wants to divide and mislead Texans four days before this election,” O’Rourke said in the statement Friday. “We should be bringing people together and defining ourselves not by who we are scared of but what we want to achieve.”
At one point during the Cruz rally, the crowd chanted “Build that wall! Build that wall.”
At another point, someone in the audience yelled out that “Texas needs a fighter, not a skateboard rider.”
This race has dominated political attention in Texas and across the country.
Many want to see if Cruz will win his first re-election. Others are watching to see if O’Rourke will become the first Texas Democrat to win a statewide race in more than 20 years.
This costly race recently tipped the scales at more than $100 million, when O’Rourke reported raising more than $70 million and Cruz reported raising around $30 million, federal campaign finance reports show.
Cruz, who has lagged behind O’Rourke in fundraising, asked supporters on Friday to consider donating to his campaign.
After the event, a woman went up to Wendy Burgess — a Republican who is running for Tarrant County Tax Assessor Collector against Democrat Ollie Anderson — and handed her $20 for the Cruz campaign.
“I will personally hand it to Rafael Cruz,” the father of Ted Cruz, Burgess said. “I will take care of it for her.”
After Cruz visited with supporters in Fort Worth Friday, he was heading to cities ranging from Athens and Bryan to Corpus Christi and Fairview, continuing his get out the vote effort.
O’Rourke, meanwhile, planned events Friday and this weekend in Lewisville, Carollton, Plano and Dallas to campaign, block walk and thank supporters.
Election Day is Tuesday, Nov. 6. Polls will be open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.
When heading to the polls, make sure you bring your photo ID.
Election officials ask that voters prepare before they head out to the polls Tuesday, first looking up their polling location, because it might have changed since the last election, and reviewing sample ballots online at the Tarrant County Election website, access.tarrantcounty.com/en/elections.html.
For more information, voters may call the Tarrant County Elections Office at 817-831-8683. Voters statewide may call the Secretary of State’s Office at 1-800-252-8683.