Facing a grim midterm map, Democrats are desperately trying to put enough GOP-held seats in play to take advantage of Donald Trump’s unpopularity and carve a credible path back to Senate control. The odds are so long that Democrats must pin their hopes on taking out Ted Cruz in the reliably conservative bastion of Texas.
Their first ray of hope is the entry of three-term Rep. Beto O’Rourke — a 44-year-old former hard rock musician and internet entrepreneur who speaks fluent Spanish — into the race on Friday. Though Cruz is universally known, Democrats insist he’s not invincible, pointing to the first-term Republican’s poor polling numbers and prolonged focus on running for president.
And they say O’Rourke is formidable enough that they can make a case to donors that they actually have a shot at winning the state — and the Senate overall.
“People want to win and they want to play offense. And Texas represents that,” O’Rourke said in an interview earlier this month. “Texas is how you win back the Senate.”