Politics

Here’s How Texans Are Reacting To Beto O’Rourke’s Presidential Run

Some say the popularity he gained last year when he ran against Senator Ted Cruz strengthens his candidacy. Republicans are criticizing his stance on immigration.

O’Rourke is hoping to turn his strong fundraising and charisma into a successful presidential run.

As Beto O’Rourke enters a crowded field of politicians vying for the Democratic ticket in 2020, here’s how some Texans are reacting to his bid for the White House.

O’Rourke made a big impression on the national stage last year when he got within 3 percentage points of upsetting Republican Senator Ted Cruz. He also shattered fundraising records. He faces a lot of competition for the Democratic nomination, including Senators Bernie Sanders, Cory Booker, Elizabeth Warren and Kamala Harris.

The reactions to O’Rourke’s announcement have come from experts, politicians and voters.

Nancy Sims, a political analyst and lecturer at the University of Houston, said that he is a strong candidate because of the national exposure he gained last year.

“There’s some polling and he seems to cut across the top tier,” Sims said on Houston Matters. She noted that O’Rourke beat President Donald Trump in a UT-Texas Tribune poll, although it’s early to tell whether that could also propel him at a national level.

Houston Matters: Nancy Sims on Beto’s Chances in 2020

Sims noted that O’Rourke’s platform will focus on issues — like health care and immigration — that other Democrats are campaigning on. However, the fact he is from a border town “gives him a different perspective on this issue,” she said.

Texas Democratic Party Chair Gilberto Hinojosa said in a statement the party is “proud” to have O’Rourke trying to win the presidential nomination. He highlighted his achievement in 2018 when he came close to beating Cruz in a state that’s supposed to be robustly Republican. The party also highlighted O’Rourke’s success on Twitter.

O’Rourke’s announcement also drew reaction from Republicans. Cruz was one of the few members of the Texas congressional delegation that commented.

The Texas Republican Party also quickly slammed O’Rourke as joining “several fellow socialists” and criticized his stance on immigration, which the party called “dangerous.”

The Texas Tribune’s CEO Evan Smith tweeted about how the former congressman’s nickname is drawing a new round of GOP attacks.

Some people who knew O’Rourke before politics also weighed in on social media. Julie Beth Napolin, a scholar, musician and radio producer, said that she isn’t surprised about her former peer’s ambitions.

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Alvaro ‘Al’ Ortiz

General Assignment Reporter

Alvaro 'Al' Ortiz is originally from Spain. He worked for several years in his home country and gained experience in all platforms of journalism, from wire services to print, as well as broadcast news and digital reporting. In 2001, Al came to the United States to pursue a Master's degree...

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