State Watch

Some Texas Dems pushing O’Rourke to run for Senate again, not president

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Democratic rising star former Rep. Beto O’Rourke is reportedly being urged by some Texas Democrats to challenge GOP Sen. John Cornyn in 2020.

O’Rourke is considering a run for president, telling Oprah Winfrey this week that he would make a decision by the end of the month.

{mosads}But party leaders and other players in Texas say that O’Rourke could beat Cornyn, a victory that would be a major step toward turning the state blue, according to the Dallas Morning News.

Texas Democratic Party Chairman Gilberto Hinojosa told the Morning News that while he would support O’Rourke in either race, he thinks the former El Paso congressman is more likely to win closer to home.

“He just needs to decide where he thinks he can better serve and have a better chance of winning,” Hinojosa said. “It’s not just, can he do more as president, but where can he win?”

“The consensus is that if he does run for Senate, he has a good chance of winning,” Hinojosa added.

Ed Espinoza, director of Progress Texas, a progressive group, said that O’Rourke could find “a heck of a lot more enthusiasm here at home than in Iowa or New Hampshire.”

O’Rourke lost his bid last year to unseat Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) by just a few points, helping skyrocket him to national recognition and secure a number of celebrity fans. Actor Bradley Cooper said this week that he hopes O’Rourke runs for the White House, saying, “We need inspiration.”

Those pushing O’Rourke to run for Senate again told the Dallas Morning News that Cornyn is much less popular within the GOP than Cruz, making him an easier target for a Democrat.

Former San Antonio Mayor Julián Castro (D), who is running for president in 2020, and his brother, Rep. Joaquin Castro (D-Texas), have also been floated as possible Cornyn challengers, according to the paper.

Cornyn’s campaign manager told the paper that it “doesn’t matter” who challenges the senator, but that he is “looking forward to contrasting his vision for the country against their vision.”

The Hill has reached out to O’Rourke’s team for comment.

Tags 2020 presidential race 2020 Senate race Joaquin Castro John Cornyn Ted Cruz Texas
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