Texas Politics

O’Rourke, who seeks Cruz’s Senate seat, heads to Fort Worth

El Paso Democratic Congressman Beto O’Rourke launched his campaign for the U.S. Senate race in 2018, accompanied by his wife, Amy, in El Paso on March 31.
El Paso Democratic Congressman Beto O’Rourke launched his campaign for the U.S. Senate race in 2018, accompanied by his wife, Amy, in El Paso on March 31. AP

U.S. Rep. Beto O’Rourke is coming to town this weekend.

O’Rourke, the El Paso Democrat challenging Republican Ted Cruz for his U.S. Senate seat next year, is holding a meet and greet from 10-11:30 a.m. Sunday at Fort Worth’s Chimera Brewing Co., 1001 W. Magnolia Ave.

“I’m doing my best to be in every county in Texas and I’m excited to be in Tarrant,” he said. “I want to listen and understand what’s on people’s minds.”

O’Rourke, a punk rocker turned congressman, has been traveling around the state meeting residents since announcing his long-shot bid to unseat Cruz in 2018. This weekend, he also plans to visit with supporters in Beaumont and Longview.

O’Rourke said he has been encouraged by the response he’s received from Texans since announcing his candidacy.

The last time he was in Fort Worth was January — Jan. 21 to be exact.

He came to Tarrant County to talk to local officials, and meet people, and was downtown for meetings when he saw the Woman’s March in downtown Fort Worth.

He felt awkward, as casually dressed marchers carrying signs walked past him — and he was in a suit.

As he looked to see where to join the march, someone who knew him from El Paso yelled his name and gave him a spot to march.

“I was blown away by all the energy,” he said.

Beto O’Rourke is a former guitarist for an El Paso punk rock band known as Foss.

O’Rourke, a former guitarist for an El Paso punk rock band known as Foss, hopes to be the first Democrat to win a U.S. Senate seat in Texas since Lloyd Bentsen in 1988.

He gained national media attention earlier this year for a bipartisan road trip with fellow Texan, Republican U.S. Rep. Hurd, after their flights to Washington, D.C. were canceled. They rented a car, drove and live streamed the trip on Facebook.

Fellow Texan and Democrat U.S. Rep. Joaquin Castro also remains a potential challenger to Cruz.

The message O’Rourke heard last time in Fort Worth was clear, he said.

“Folks want to make sure there are good jobs available for every Texan who wants to work. They want to make sure we are fulfilling our commitment to veterans and they want to see Congress actually work.

“You’ve got a junior senator who is spending his time in Congress running for president, who has shut down the government.”

Cruz — a former presidential candidate whose strongholds have long included the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex — has sent out statements claiming that O’Rourke, first elected to Congress in 2012, “does not represent the values most important to Texans.”

Anna Tinsley: 817-390-7610, @annatinsley

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