For Democratic Senate Candidates, Beto O’Rourke Is A Tough Act To Follow

Eleven Democrats are vying for the chance to face Republican John Cornyn in the 2020 Senate race.

By Jill AmentNovember 20, 2019 2:07 pm

Eleven Democratic candidates are running to unseat longtime Republican Sen. John Cornyn. But it’s unclear whether any of the current challengers has what it takes to measure up to Beto O’Rourke’s breakout performance against Ted Cruz in 2018.

Jeremy Wallace covers Texas politics for The Houston Chronicle. He says the pace set by O’Rourke, both in terms of rallies held around the state, and in fundraising, has been tough for this cycle’s candidates to match.

“When you think of a year before 2018, he had logged 120 different rallies and meetings throughout the state, and been to half the counties at this point,” Wallace says.

MJ Hegar, who came close to defeating Republican Congressman John Carter in 2018, and who is now running for Senate, hasn’t been able to raise money at the pace she did in 2018, Wallace says. Like O’Rourke, she was able to raise an unexpectedly large amount of money in the earlier contest.

Wallace says it’s not a given that if O’Rourke had chosen to run for the Senate again, rather than pursuing a presidential bid, he would have been more successful this time.

“There’s a lot of people who would tell you that just because O’Rourke did well against Ted Cruz, it didn’t mean he matched up well against John Cornyn,” Wallace says. “Cornyn occupies more of a moderate lane in Republican politics than Ted Cruz does.”


Written by Shelly Brisbin.