Meet Beto O’Rourke, The Texas Congressman Aiming To Unseat Ted Cruz In 2018

Trump has become a liability on the campaign trail for the GOP
(Source: Twitter/@BetoORourke)

(Source: Twitter/@BetoORourke)

Beto O’Rourke, a U.S. Representative from Texas’ 16th Congressional District in El Paso, brought his statewide campaign tour to north Texas and continued to build support for his bid to defeat Texas Senator Ted Cruz in the 2018 U-S Senate election.

O’Rourke came to the Dallas suburb of Allen, TX, on Friday, May 19, the same day he was profiled in The New York Times, on a campaign he says will take him to every single county in Texas. The stop at Nine Band Brewing Co. came a month after three other north Texas stops in Garland, Denton, and Arlington.

An overflow crowd of around 300 people crowded around the bar’s patio to hear O’Rourke talk about his campaign and also discuss President Trump’s latest missteps.

“What a crazy week this has been,” O’Rourke said. “You almost needed a stock ticker for the news coming out of the Trump Administration.”

O’Rourke sharply criticized Trump’s decision to fire former FBI Director James Comey and was skeptical of the administration’s reasoning for the firing. He credited citizen outreach as the only reason Robert Mueller was assigned as special counsel to investigate Russia’s role in the 2016 election and any evidence of collusion between Russia and the Trump campaign.

“They did not name a special counsel, former FBI Director Bob Mueller, to lead this investigation because the Trump Administration suddenly saw the light and thought this was in the best interest of the country,” O’Rourke said. “They were responding to you and the billions of calls, emails, and Facebook posts.”

O’Rourke suggested Trump’s November victory reinvigorated liberal Texans and said those who oppose Trump now will be on the right side of history.

“What are [my kids] going to ask me about what I did or did not do in 2017 and 2018 when they were talking about Mexicans being rapists or murderers, or the press being the enemy of the people?” O’Rourke asked the crowd. “What will history say about us?”

O’Rourke told the audience he wanted to be elected because of his strong message, not because of their disdain for his opponent Senator Cruz. He mentioned Cruz by name only a handful of times.

He did however have a message for north Texas congresspeople who are avoiding town hall meetings with their constituents.

“If they don’t have town hall meetings here in Allen, Texas,” O’Rourke said. “We will come have town hall meetings here [in Texas’ 3rd Congressional District].”

The challenge resonated with the crowd. Retiring Rep. Sam Johnson, who has represented District 3 for 26 years, has been accused of skipping town halls, so O’Rourke’s services may be needed sooner rather than later.

A long list of local candidates spoke before O’Rourke. Among them was Colin Allred, the former NFL linebacker running for Congress in north Dallas. Allred was joined by candidates running for local school boards, city councils, and the Texas State House.

La’Shadion Shemwell was one of the first speakers and is running for city council in McKinney, TX, a fast growing Dallas suburb. He faces a June 10 run-off election as he tries to become the only Black councilperson in the city. McKinney is perhaps best known nationwide for the 2015 pool party where a white police officer slammed an unarmed Black teenage girl to the ground.

Shemwell said he considered himself an unlikely candidate as he is Black with dreadlocks and tattoos and running for office in a conservative city. He fought back tears when the crowd chanted “this is what democracy looks like,” as he talked about his candidacy.

U.S. Representative Beto O’Rourke shakes hands with McKinney City Council candidate La’Shadion Shemwell at a campaign event at Nine Band Brewing Co. in Allen, TX on Friday, May 19. (Photo: Steve Spainhouer)

U.S. Representative Beto O’Rourke shakes hands with McKinney City Council candidate La’Shadion Shemwell at a campaign event at Nine Band Brewing Co. in Allen, TX on Friday, May 19. (Photo: Steve Spainhouer)

You can watch an excerpt of O’Rourke’s speech below.

Matthew Reyna @MatthewReynaTX

News // Congress / Elections / Politics / Texas