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Beto O'Rourke says he can take Texas from Trump

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Former Rep. Beto O’Rourke claimed Wednesday morning that he is capable of beating President Donald Trump in Texas in next year’s presidential election, an outcome that would all but seal a White House victory for Democrats.

Turning Texas blue has been a long-held goal for Democrats, who see the nation's second most populous state as a game-changer in Electoral College calculations. Of the five states with the most Electoral College votes, only Texas has been reliably red, voting for Republican presidential candidates in every election since 1980. But the state’s shifting demographics has led Democrats to believe they can pry Texas’ 38 electoral votes away from the GOP, a victory that would dramatically narrow any Republican’s chance at winning the White House.

“We can put Texas in play, and furthermore, we can win Texas,” O’Rourke, the former congressman from El Paso, told a panel of reporters on MSNBC. “I’m going to make sure that the rest of America hears that story because the No. 1 priority for voters right now is defeating Donald Trump in 2020.”

As proof, O'Rourke pointed to a poll of Texas registered voters that showed him with an 11 percentage point lead over Trump in a hypothetical general election matchup, the biggest lead of any 2020 Democrat. Among the Democratic primary candidates, O'Rourke was first, with 27 percent of respondents listing him as their first choice, ahead of nationwide front-runner Joe Biden, who was the preference of 24 percent of those polled.


To O’Rourke, the survey’s results are confirmation that his campaign could tap into important demographics like independents and women whose increased turnout could “change the electoral landscape” of the state.

The former congressman jumped into the presidential race earlier this year fresh off of his high-profile, but unsuccessful bid, to unseat Texas Sen. Ted Cruz. Despite an avalanche of donations and national media attention, O’Rourke lost to Cruz by 2.6 points, a defeat that nonetheless put him among the most successful Democrats to run statewide in Texas in years.

Buoyed by his high-profile Senate bid, O’Rourke jumped into the presidential race earlier this year and seemed poised to command a front-runner position. Instead, the former congressman’s campaign has stalled as his support in national polls has diminished.


Article originally published on POLITICO Magazine





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via DMT.NEWS mking@politico.com (Maya King), Khareem Sudlow