Most folks think of Texas as one of the deepest red states, but a possible blue wave in the Texas primary elections has threatened to turn the state slightly purple. That is to say, incumbent junior Senator Ted Cruz easily coasted into his state’s GOP nomination for his seat. However, Beto O’Rourke, a sitting U.S. Representative (out of El Paso) since 2013, not only cinched his party’s nomination for the same Senate seat, but the Associated Press reports that there was an increase in Democratic turnout numbers (over 2016). Although it’s not yet clear how much of a jump occurred, the number could be significant and reflective of a possible nationwide trend for the 2018 midterm elections.
The AP notes that O’Rourke still faces “long odds” of pushing Cruz out of office, but early voting numbers showed that Cruz needs to watch his senatorial back:
Democratic early voting across Texas’ 15 most-populous counties more than doubled that of the last non-presidential cycle in 2014, while the number of Republican early ballots cast increased only slightly. Total Democratic early votes exceeded Republican ones roughly 465,000 to 420,000, though those figures combined accounted for less than 9 percent of the state’s total registered voters.
As the Daily Beast reported (hours before polls closed) on Tuesday, Cruz was feeling nervous before results came in. He even admitted his fear of a large Democratic turnout because “they hate the president,” and he warned that if Republicans choose not to head to the polls, the GOP “could lose both houses of Congress.” With that said, it’s worth familiarizing one’s eyeballs with the sight of Beto O’Rourke, for he’s sure to be a topic of discussion until November.
Following Tuesday night’s results, Cruz attempted to bluff with this 60-second ad “introducing our liberal opponent.” Listen to it all if you dare, but ear plugs are recommended, no matter one’s political affiliation. And the #KeepTexasRed hashtag says everything about Cruz’s mindset right now.