Opinion: Beto won’t beat Ted in senate race


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If you never left our little corner of Fort Worth, also known as the “TCU Bubble,” it might seem as though the outcome of the US senate race in Texas has already been decided. Buttons on backpacks, stickers on laptops and cardboard signs in front yards in the surrounding neighborhoods all announce the same conclusion– “Beto for Texas.”

I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but Beto won’t win Nov. 6. Sorry.

Beto O’Rourke, the Democratic representative of Texas’ 16th congressional district, is riding a new wave of enthusiasm in Texas. The turnout in the recent Democratic primary was up 84 percent higher than the last midterm cycle in 2014 with over 1 million votes– the first time Texas Democrats have reached that figure since 2002.

O’Rourke also beat sitting senator Ted Cruz in fundraising in the first six weeks of 2018 by $1.5 million. If you are a Cruz supporter, you already knew this fact due to the weekly emails from the Cruz campaign urging you to donate because “We’re losing.”

However, in spite of all this energy, all this fundraising, when the votes are cast this November Cruz will be the winner.

Even with the recent surge, turnout in the Texas Republican primary still beats that of the Democratic primary by 500,000 votes. Ted Cruz won 85 percent of those roughly 1.5 million voters, while Beto, on the other hand, only won 61 percent of his smaller electorate.

While the Cruz campaign sends out emails, letters and phone calls telling his supporters that they are losing the fundraising battle, Cruz still has an advantage over O’Rourke in total dollars raised.

Boring facts and figures aside, incumbent candidates like Cruz tend to win elections in which they run. As an incumbent, Cruz has better name recognition, a stronger fundraising infrastructure and is generally a more seasoned political actor.