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Losing Texas Senate: Beto O'Rourke gain and fate of Democrats since 1996, but why?

John C Moritz, El Paso Times Published 11:12 a.m. MT March 13, 2019 | Updated 2:37 p.m. MT March 13, 2019CLOSE Meet Beto O’Rourke, the El Paso politician who has his sights set on Washington D.C. Wochit, WochitAUSTIN — Had Beto O’Rourke managed to pull off an unlikely victory over U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz in…

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John C Moritz, El Paso Times
Published 11:12 a.m. MT March 13, 2019 | Updated 2:37 p.m. MT March 13, 2019

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Meet Beto O’Rourke, the El Paso politician who has his sights set on Washington D.C.
Wochit, Wochit

AUSTIN — Had Beto O’Rourke managed to pull off an unlikely victory over U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz in November, it’s doubtful that he’d be taken seriously as a candidate for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination.

But even though his loss to the Republican incumbent could prove to be a good career move, the fact remains that O’Rourke suffered the same fate of every Democrat who has dared to run statewide since 1996. And here are some of the reasons why.

Texas in 2018 was still a red state

O’Rourke came within a scant 2.6 percentage points of upending Cruz, and a few down-ballot statewide Democrats also came within striking distance of Republican incumbents. Democrats did gain a dozen seats in the state House, plus two in the state Senate and couple of congressional seats.

But Republicans did continue their generation-long dominance of Texas politics. Gov. Greg Abbott glided to a 13-point victory over Democrat Lupe Valdez, and Republicans easily won all of the statewide seats on the Texas Supreme Court and the Court of Criminal Appeals.

BETO 2020: Key moments from the O’Rourke, Ted Cruz Senate race in Texas

Even the $80 million raised and spent by O’Rourke couldn’t overcome the structural advantage Republicans enjoy in Texas.

Cruz prepared for the Beto juggernaut

Even before the March primary officially crowned O’Rourke and Cruz as their parties’ standard bearers in the U.S. Senate race, the Republican incumbent made it clear that he took the then little-known challenger seriously.

Democrats, Cruz warned just about every Republican voter he encountered on the campaign trail, “will crawl over broken glass” to cast their vote in November 2018. Part of the motivation among left-leaning Texans was a deep and abiding antipathy toward president Donald Trump and an equal disdain for Cruz.

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“Mark my words, we are going to see historic turnout from the extreme left in November,” Cruz said the night he won the GOP primary. “In Texas, if conservatives stay home, if we rest on our laurels, we could see Texas turn blue.”

Cruz’s prediction was spot on, and then some. Democratic turnout was up, and so it was for Republicans too.

An analysis from a fellow Democrat

Days after the November election, the Democrat who finished second in the party’s primary in the governor’s race had some harsh words for O’Rourke’s better-than-expected showing.

“I hate to admit it, but Ted Cruz was right. Beto O’Rourke was too liberal for Texas voters,” Andrew White, the son of the late former Gov. Mark White, said in an op-ed published in the Houston Chronicle.

PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATES 2020: A list of the committed, likely and undecided

White gave O’Rourke credit for visiting all 254 Texas counties — even those in the reddest and most rural parts of the state. But, the Houston businessman and first-time political candidate added, O’Rourke was unable or unwilling to persuade independent-minded conservatives that he would represent their values in the U.S. Senate.

“A friend’s comment about O’Rourke campaign put it best,” White wrote. “’Would it have killed Beto to go quail hunting just once?’”

Going forward, White urged Democrats who run statewide in 2020 and beyond to connect with moderate and conservatives on matters of religious faith and to follow the models established by Democrats in other red states who have managed to win.

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Could Beto O’Rourke win at home in 2020?

That remains to be seen. The latest Texas poll by Quinnipiac University shows Trump leading O’Rourke by just a single percentage point in a hypothetical matchup.

BETO 2020: O’Rourke school, history in politics, career

It’s still way early in the campaign cycle, but Texas Democrats are more optimistic about their party’s chances than anytime since 2002 when they had Laredo multimillionaire Tony Sanchez, who bankrolled his own campaign for governor, and a slate of several proven vote-getters also ran statewide. 

They all lost, but there was palpable early campaign optimism.

Heading into 2020, Democrats are banking on continued troubles for Trump as he seeks a second term. And even a well-connected Republican operative admits that O’Rourke would be formidable.

“He grew in the campaign, he grew as a candidate,” Cruz’s campaign manager Jeff Roe told reporters after the results were clear on Election Night 2018. 

“I don’t predict Democrat politics,” Roe added. “But the fervent following that he has nationally, no one else compares to him on their side. No one does. He is in a league of his own in the Democrat party. And if he doesn’t use that to run for president, I don’t know what you do with it.”

John C. Moritz covers Texas government and politics for the USA Today Network in Austin. Contact him at John.Moritz@caller.com and follow him on Twitter @JohnnieMo.

The El Paso Times isn’t just another subscription. With our digital pass, you can get unlimited access to coverage on Beto O’Rourke, the border wall and more local news. Extend your support today for just $1 a month for the first 3 months.

Read or Share this story: https://www.elpasotimes.com/story/news/2019/03/13/president-election-2020-beto-o-rourke-lost-texas-senate-reasons-why/3130206002/

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Dona Ana

Car accident kills three, including an El Paso man, Sunday in New Mexico

Sun-News report Published 9:00 a.m. MT March 26, 2019 | Updated 9:01 a.m. MT March 26, 2019CLOSE Do you know what to do if you’re in an accident? WochitHIDALGO COUNTY — A fiery crash along Interstate 10 in western New Mexico claimed three lives, including an El Paso man.New Mexico State Police responded to the fatal…

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Sun-News report
Published 9:00 a.m. MT March 26, 2019 | Updated 9:01 a.m. MT March 26, 2019

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Do you know what to do if you’re in an accident?
Wochit

HIDALGO COUNTY — A fiery crash along Interstate 10 in western New Mexico claimed three lives, including an El Paso man.

New Mexico State Police responded to the fatal head-on collision at mile marker 19, near Lordsburg, about 3:30 p.m. Sunday, March 24.

Police said a 2015 Freightliner semi-truck was traveling east on Interstate 10, when, for unknown reasons, it crossed the center median and hit a west-bound 2013 Kenworth semi-truck head on. The Freightliner’s trailer hit a 1999 Dodge pickup that was also traveling west. Both semi-trucks caught on fire.

Three people died in the crash: Sean White, 50, of West Covina, California, was the driver of the Freightliner; Jose Apodaca, 47, of El Paso, was the driver of the Kenworth; and Susan Rojo, 47, of Sierra Vista, Arizona, was a passenger in the Dodge.

A 51-year-old male driving the Dodge and a 13-year-old female passenger in the pickup, both believed to be from Arizona, were transported to an area hospital with critical injuries.

Alcohol is not believed to have been a factor and seat belt use has not been determined. Police are continuing to investigate.

More: A train hit a pedestrian in an El Paso crash Tuesday morning

More: Car accident kills 11-year-old boy Sunday in East El Paso

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Beto campaign manager was aide to Barack Obama in 2012, signals shift in O'Rourke strategy

John C Moritz, El Paso Times Published 6:03 p.m. MT March 25, 2019 | Updated 7:37 a.m. MT March 26, 2019CLOSE Linguist Roberto Perezdiaz sheds light on the pronunciation and mispronunciation of the nickname ‘Beto.’ Mark R Lambie, El Paso TimesThe move signals the former El Paso congressman is willing to invest in top political…

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John C Moritz, El Paso Times
Published 6:03 p.m. MT March 25, 2019 | Updated 7:37 a.m. MT March 26, 2019

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Linguist Roberto Perezdiaz sheds light on the pronunciation and mispronunciation of the nickname ‘Beto.’
Mark R Lambie, El Paso Times

The move signals the former El Paso congressman is willing to invest in top political talent as he seeks to emerge from a crowded field of Democrats seeking the 2020 presidential nomination.

A former top strategist for Barack Obama’s 2012 re-election effort is joining Texan Beto O’Rourke as a campaign manager for his 2020 presidential bid.

The addition of Jen O’Malley Dillon gives O’Rourke a seasoned, high-level operative as he attempts to distinguish himself in a crowded field of candidates seeking to challenge President Donald Trump next year.

“We’re exited that Jen O’Malley Dillon has joined our team,” O’Rourke said Monday in text message forwarded by his campaign. “Her leadership and creativity will be a great addition to a campaign that is already doing so much to bring people together to overcome the greatest set of challenges this country has ever faced.”

I’m so excited to join the @betoorourke team and get to work building a campaign that will lift people up and unite them to meet our challenges, and that will show up everywhere and listen to & value every voice.

— Jen O’Malley Dillon (@jomalleydillon) March 25, 2019

O’Malley Dillon was Obama’s deputy campaign manager. She said in a series of tweets that as a mother of two she wants to make a better world for her children. Her hiring was first reported by the New York Times.

“I’m so excited to join the @betoorourke team and get to work building a campaign that will lift people up and unite them to meet our challenges, and that will show up everywhere and listen to & value every voice,” she said in one of the tweets.

MORE: Beto O’Rourke campaign announces location for El Paso rally

She added, “and not gonna lie, pretty excited for our kids to get a chance to live in El Paso, where” her husband grew up.

Her husband, Patrick Dillon, was the deputy director of political affairs and special assistant to Obama.

O’Malley Dillon is a co-founder of the political communications firm, Precision Strategies, which worked for Obama in 2012 and also represents the John F. Kennedy Library and Foundation, according to its website.

Brandon Rottinghaus, a political science professor at the University of Houston, said the hiring of O’Malley Dillon is a signal O’Rourke recognizes that he cannot run his presidential bid with the same seat-of-the pants style that became a trademark in his narrow loss to U.S.Sen. Ted Cruz in Texas last year.

“Getting someone who knows what it takes to win, especially an old Obama hand, is huge,” Rottinghaus said. “Going from a U.S. Senate campaign to a presidential campaign is like going from the minor leagues to the major leagues. This says Beto knows he needs top talent.”

MORE: Beto fundraising record: $6.1 million from donors is an ‘important number’ for O’Rourke

O’Rourke, a former three-term congressman, gave up a safe Democratic seat representing El Paso to challenge Cruz. He entered the presidential race March 14 and immediately hit the road to campaign in Iowa, New Hampshire and other early primary and caucus states on next year’s political calendar.

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Days after saying he would join the presidential race, O’Rourke said he had raised $6.1 million in the first 24 hours after his formal announcement — the biggest first-day haul of any of the announced Democrats. He edged Bernie Sanders’ $5.9 million, raised from 223,000 individual donors. The O’Rourke campaign said later that it received 128,000 unique contributions.

O’Rourke plans what he’s calling a “launch” on Saturday with a morning rally in El Paso to be followed by two more home-state rallies — one in Houston that afternoon and a nighttime event in Austin, a block from the Texas Capitol.

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A train hit a pedestrian in an El Paso crash Tuesday morning

Aaron Martinez, El Paso Times Published 7:32 a.m. MT March 26, 2019 CLOSE If you know the man who on March 12 walked into the Walgreens at the Fountains at Farah and stole more than $600, you could earn a reward. Courtesy Crime Stoppers of El Paso, El Paso TimesA pedestrian was struck by a…

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Aaron Martinez, El Paso Times
Published 7:32 a.m. MT March 26, 2019

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If you know the man who on March 12 walked into the Walgreens at the Fountains at Farah and stole more than $600, you could earn a reward.
Courtesy Crime Stoppers of El Paso, El Paso Times

A pedestrian was struck by a train early Tuesday morning in the Upper Valley, officials said.

The incident happened at Spur 16 and Doniphan Drive near Canutillo High School, El Paso Police Department officials said.

The pedestrian’s current condition and name were not released.

The El Paso Police Department’s Special Traffic Investigations unit is investigating the accident.

No further information has been released.

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Aaron Martinez may be reached at 546-6249; aamartinez@elpasotimes.com; @AMartinez31 on Twitter.

Read or Share this story: https://www.elpasotimes.com/story/news/crime/2019/03/26/train-hit-pedestrian-el-paso-crash-tuesday-morning/3275396002/

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