Ted Cruz jokes: ‘If Beto wins, BBQ will be illegal!’

Barbecue is king in Texas.
Barbecue is king in Texas. TNS

Barbecue has long been considered a Texas treasure.

And now it’s in the limelight, courtesy of the U.S. Senate race.

PETA members showed up outside a Ted Cruz town hall Saturday in Columbus, Texas, in the wake of the Republican’s comments that Texans don’t want his challenger, Democrat Beto O’Rourke, to make Texas similar to California “right down to tofu and silicon and dyed hair.”

They carried signs promoting Texas-made tofu, one noting that “Republicans eat tofu too,” and handed out samples of barbecued tofu.

Cruz — who knows how Texans pride themselves on making the most tender and flavorful barbecue — welcomed PETA to his event and thanked the group for “helping his campaign.”

He noted that their presence, and their barbecue tofu, “illustrates the stakes (of) the election.”

“If Beto wins, BBQ will be illegal,” Cruz joked on Twitter, adding three crying-laughing emojis to show he was joking.

O’Rourke’s campaign declined to comment.

PETA officials were glad to draw tofu to Cruz’s attention.

“Tofu is the most versatile food on the planet, and it’s grown right in the Lone Star State,” PETA Executive Vice President Tracy Reiman said in a release. “PETA is confident that once Ted Cruz tastes how delicious tofu can be, he’ll want to see it in every Texas pot.”

This battle for the U.S. Senate seat has become more competitive than expected in a state that has not elected a Democrat to statewide office in more than 20 years.

TV commercials are now ramping up on both sides, as are campaign town halls and rallies.

Beto yard signs planted in yards across the state prompted Cruz supporters to call for their own signs, so they, too, can show public support for the candidate of their choice.

Republicans have said they believe O’Rourke’s election bid “is a serious threat” to Cruz’s re-election. “We’re not bluffing,” U.S. Sen. John Cornyn of Texas has said. “This is real.”

Congressional leaders have stepped up to help Cruz, as has President Donald Trump, who plans to hold a rally at the “biggest stadium in Texas” to help Cruz.

Willie Nelson, meanwhile, plans to perform at a Sept. 29 Austin rally for O’Rourke.

It is less than two months until the Nov. 6 midterm election.

Early voting runs from Oct. 22-Nov. 2

Anna Tinsley: 817-390-7610, @annatinsley

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