This Friday, one of Texas’s biggest newspapers endorsed Beto O’Rourke, the Democratic challenger to Ted Cruz’s Senate seat.
In a piece published this Friday, the Houston Chronicle’s editorial board announced that it was “enthusiastically” endorsing O’Rourke in his bid to unseat the incumbent Republican.
“With eyes clear but certainly not starry, we enthusiastically endorse Beto O’Rourke for U.S. Senate,” the Chronicle’s editorial board wrote. “The West Texas congressman’s command of issues that matter to this state, his unaffected eloquence and his eagerness to reach out to all Texans make him one of the most impressive candidates this editorial board has encountered in many years.”
The endorsement acknowledged that O’Rourke faces “long odds” in his quest. If O’Rourke were to win, he’d be the first Texas Democrat elected to the Senate in 30 years. According to the Chronicle’s editorial board, a win for O’Rourke would be good for Texas “not only because of his skills, both personal and political, but also because of the manifest inadequacies of the man he would replace.”
— Keith Boykin (@keithboykin) October 19, 2018
The Chronicle’s editorial board endorsed Cruz in 2o12, but has apparently soured on him due to his “little interest in addressing the needs of his fellow Texans during his six years in office.”
“For Cruz, public office is a private quest; the needs of his constituents are secondary,” the board wrote.
Cruz’s very first vote as senator was a “nay” on the Disaster Relief Appropriations Act, a bill authorizing $60 billion for relief agencies working to address the needs of Hurricane Sandy victims. More than a few of Cruz’s congressional colleagues reminded him of that vote when he came seeking support for Hurricane Harvey relief efforts. Cruz’s Texas cohort, U.S. Sen. John Cornyn, was effective in those efforts; the junior senator was not.
Voters don’t send representatives to Washington to win popularity contests, and yet the bipartisan disdain the Republican incumbent elicits from his colleagues, remarkable in its intensity, deserves noting. His repellent personality hamstrings his ability to do the job.
Despite the excitement around O’Rourke’s campaign, polls show Cruz at an advantage with a 7-point lead.