Red Corner: Cruz (R) vs. Blue Corner: O’Rourke (D)
By Pawan Naidu
What would your reaction be four years ago, if I told you Texas would be anything but solidly Republican in the November 2018 race? Don’t feel bad, I would have been right there with you, but here we are.
Texas has been a stronghold for Republicans for quite some time but there is evidence this could be changing. A lot of tech companies have been moving to Texas, bringing in new out-of-state employees. People in the tech industry tend to lean left, and a good number of them will be voting in the midterms.
It’s noteworthy that Trump won the state by only nine points in the presidential election in 2016. This shows Texas is vulnerable and could be a prime opportunity for Democrats.
Incumbent Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX), elected to the Senate in 2012, became a household name nationally when he ran for president in 2016. He was the runner-up in the Republican primary to then-candidate Donald Trump. Cruz is a big name and knows how to command a room. He is one of the most prominent and visible Republicans in the state and has a strong enough brand and personality to be seen as his own man.
Rep. Beto O’Rourke (D-16), who is running against Cruz, is a member of the House of Representatives and was also first elected in 2012. O’Rourke is young, energetic, and a reliable Democrat vote. With the increase of young professionals to Texas to the tech industry, he might become a representative for a new generation of Texas voters. But it might not be his time yet.
The upcoming race received national attention when O’Rourke out-fundraised Cruz in the fourth quarter of last year by $500,000.
I could discuss these gentleman’s positions on a variety of issues, but I feel like it won’t matter. Has Texas shown signs that it is moving to the center? Yes, but it is not there yet. It is still a red state. Texas is not yet a swing state, and it takes a few election cycles before a state can be considered one.
The November election won’t be a blowout, but the lone star state isn’t turning purple just yet.
Prognosis: Cruz +10