The last day to register to vote is Oct. 9, and the upcoming election on Nov. 6 promises to be a close and important race for Texas candidates running for U.S. Senator. Senator Ted Cruz is rerunning for his position, but is challenged by congressman Beto O’Rourke, who has risen in popularity. As of this writing, polls are showing the race to be neck and neck.
The first debate out of three before Election Day between Democratic candidate O’Rourke and Republican candidate Cruz was held Friday, Sept. 21 at 6 p.m. at Southern Methodist University and hosted by Dallas Morning News.
Aired exclusively on NBC 5 in DFW, moderators Julie Fine of Channel 5-KXAS and Gromer Jeffers of the Dallas Morning News asked the candidates to respond to 12 questions and respond to each other’s answers. Topics included citizenship for immigrants, the Botham Jean case, healthcare, taxes and trade. Though there were a few comments that ran over time limits, the debate was successful in portraying each candidate’s commitments to their convictions in respect to their differing ideologies about Texas policy. The full debate can be found on YouTube.
Beyond the standard public platform, candidate Beto O’Rourke has made a point in his campaign for U.S. Senator to visit each individual county of Texas personally. Earlier this month on Saturday, Sept. 15, Backyard on Bell in Denton exploded for the second time this year with Dentonites who came to support O’Rourke. Though the event was slotted to begin at 12:30 p.m., supporters began arriving at 10 a.m. in order to secure their spots on the lawn or at picnic tables near the stage where O’Rourke would later speak. He came on stage after several speakers, including local Democratic nominees Ramona Thompson, running for HD 106, and Kevin Lopez, running for SD 30. People listened from outside the fence and on the street. Estimates say around 2500 showed up. O’Rourke spoke about some of the topics he’s spoken about before including immigration reform, universal healthcare, ending trade wars, supporting teachers, legalizing marijuana, racial equity (ending the “prison pipeline”) and listening to the people of Texas on a more personal level. He emphasized that his grassroots type campaign has showed that the people of Texas are looking for somebody to validate their issues through better representation.
“In the last three months, Ted Cruz raised $4.4 million from PAC’s, special interests, and corporations,” O’Rourke said, “but with an average contribution of $33 a person, and 215,000 unique contributions over just one three-month period, the people of Texas have helped us raise $10.4 million.”
The midterm election results could affect Texas policy, but they could also directly affect national politics as well, because of Texas’ current standing as a “red state.” As O’Rourke told reporters at the event, “Texas is actually better defined as a non-voting state,” coming in 49th in voter turnout. The last day to register is Oct. 9, early voting starts Oct. 22, and Election Day is Nov. 6. Every vote matters.