The Texas Democrat with perhaps the greatest name recognition and highest profile in the Lone Star State is now considered, by some, to be a possible election-year liability.
James Barragán of The Dallas Morning News says former Congressman Beto O’ Rourke hasn’t exactly helped Democrats win in Texas so far, even though he started a new political action committee, Powered by People, to do just that. In fact, in one recent special election in Fort Bend County where O’Rourke pushed hard for the election of Democrat Eliz Markowitz, she lost to a Republican by 16 percentage points.
But that loss cannot be tied to O’Rourke alone. Other prominent Democrats campaigned for Markowitz, including former Vice President Joe Biden and Sen. Elizabeth Warren. It was also a special election when turnout is usually low, though turnout was high relative to other special elections.
O’Rourke’s mission since he dropped out of the presidential race has been flipping the Texas House of Representatives to a Democratic majority. And Barragán says O’Rourke told him he doesn’t think he’s a liability. In fact, though Markowitz lost, O’Rourke told Barragán there were some gains.
“They moved the number of Democratic voters in that special runoff election up from where they were in November,” Barragán says. “So he thinks that there’s a net gain.”
O’Rourke did concede that in certain rural districts where he might be a divisive figure, especially when it comes to gun control, he might just send volunteers instead of going himself, Barragán says.
“If that’s what we need to do to win the Texas House in November, that’s what I’ll do,” O’Rourke told Barragán.
Written by Caroline Covington.