(Caricatures of Beto O'Rourke and Ted Cruz are by DonkeyHotey.)
Back in the 2016 primary campaign, Donald Trump said some pretty nasty things about Texas Senator Ted Cruz. He called him a liar, said his wife was ugly, and even claimed Cruz's father was part of a conspiracy to assassinate President Kennedy.
And with Trump upside-down job approval, one might think that the last thing Cruz would want is Trump in Texas campaigning for him. But this is not a normal election year, and that is exactly what Cruz wants from Trump. Here is what Cruz said at a campaign stop last Monday:
“I would certainly welcome his support, and I hope to see him in Texas. I think we are likely to see the president down in Texas before the election.”
Cruz is starting to realize that he may be in trouble. He has read the latest three polls on his senate race against Democrat Beto O'Rourke. One poll had him leading O'Rourke by only 2 points (within the margin of error). The others had the margin at 4 points and 6 points. Regardless of which poll you believe, it is now obvious that Cruz has a real race on his hands now. It is not the "safe" seat that many predicted a few months ago.
And this is while most Texans really don't know much about Beto O'Rourke (a U.S. representative from El Paso). As O'Rourke spends the money he has raised (much more than Cruz raised) in the next couple of months, Texans are going to learn how likable he is -- and the race could tighten even further. O'Rourke could take the lead.
Cruz realices that his best hope is to get the Republican base to come out in large numbers on election day, and with Texas Republicans firmly in the Trump camp, the best way to do that is to get Trump to come to Texas and fire up his supporters. It's a risky strategy, because it could fire up Democrats and Independents that don't like Trump, but it's all Cruz has. Texans know Cruz, and he doesn't have the upside that O'Rourke does in getting voters to know him better.
To be blunt -- Cruz is now running scared!