Friday, May 11, 2018

Could O'Rourke Unseat Cruz In Texas? Maybe!

The chart above is from Sabato's Crystal Ball (from the University of Virginia Center for Politics). It shows the latest view of what is likely to happen in the Senate races in this November's election.

Let me draw your attention to the state of Texas. It is listed as a red state, but not the deep red of a "safe" Republican victory. It has been downgraded into a "likely" Republican victory. That may not sound like progress to many of you living in a blue state, but it is. It marks the first time in quite a long time that a statewide race in Texas has been rated as "likely" rather than "safe".

It means that while Cruz is still considered the favorite, he actually has a race on his hands this year. The Democrats have found a candidate that appeals to many, excites their base, and is willing to wage a statewide campaign.

Why is this happening? Several reasons. First, Ted Cruz is not extremely well like in Texas (like most of his fellow Republicans. As many (or more) people don't like the job he's doing as like it. Also, a recent poll showed that Beto O'Rourke, the Democratic candidate, has cut into Cruz's lead -- and shows him within low single-digits of Cruz.

But perhaps the main reason is that O'Rourke has excited voters -- so much that they are contributing in a big way to his campaign (as the charts below show).The Texas Tribune charts show that O'Rourke has outraged Cruz in campaign donations by about $2.2 million. And that's after you add in $3.4 million in PAC money for Cruz. If you only count money from individual donors, then O'Rourke has outraged Cruz by $5.6 million. Currently they have an equal amount on hand.

It's still going to be a tough fight for O'Rourke to unseat Cruz, but it looks like he will have the funds necessary to wage a proper campaign (which past senate candidates for Democrats in Texas have not enjoyed). But it is a possibility -- and not nearly the long shot that many thought.

It will all depend on turnout. If Democrats and Independents go to the polls in large numbers this November, then O'Rourke has a real chance. I wouldn't bet the farm on him (yet), but things are changing in Texas. It wouldn't surprise me if that "likely" rating was soon downgraded again -- to "leaning" Republican. Then the race would really be on!

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