Texans are known for having quite a bit of pride in their state. Most are quick to site the myriad of ways in which Texas is bigger and/or better than other areas.
While most of us know that the Lone Star State is BIG, very few of us can say that we’ve experienced the true size of Texas
But as David Yaffe-Bellany of the Texas Tribune reports, one politician just made some impressive news, and fulfilled an impressive campaign promise at the same time…
After tens of thousands of miles on the road, hundreds of town hall meetings and innumerable cups of coffee, U.S. Rep. Beto O’Rourke made the final stop on his much-ballyhooed tour of all 254 Texas counties on Saturday, visiting Gainesville in his continuing bid to unseat U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz this fall.
Over the last 15 months, O’Rourke’s county-by-county driving tour has taken him all over the state, from his hometown of El Paso on the Mexican border to Cooke County in the north, where he held a town hall on Saturday afternoon.
“Here we are in Gainesville, which, as the crow flies, might be the farthest point you can get from El Paso,” he said to laughter from a packed house in the historic Santa Fe train depot.
The tour represents more than just an expansive retail campaign across the largest state in mainland America. It also marks a dramatic deviation from the political playbook employed by the majority of Texas Democrats over the last two decades.
Running a true statewide campaign is a promise Beto O’Rourke made early on during the campaign, and as of this weekend, it is a promise kept. The trek also marks an historic accomplishment for a statewide candidate. Though O’Rourke and his team are not the first to have visited every Texas county during a statewide campaign, it is still a rather rare feat. So as the first known campaign to complete such a feat in the 21st century and with copious social media documentation.
As the Tribune says, Beto’s strategy is a far cry from previous Democratic (or Republican) candidates. Most Democrats have run their statewide campaigns by sticking to the “urban triangle” of Dallas-Ft. Worth, Austin, San Antonio and Houston with rarely a stop elsewhere. As a result, the Democratic party has basically retreated to only these areas of the state.
But whatever the result come November, Beto O’Rourke has laid a new course which all Democrats, centrists and Progressives should be watching. The only way to turn Texas’ political tide is to be competitive in every single county, and you can’t be competitive if you don’t show up.
Let’s hope the originality continues.
Hey Beto!! Thanks for showing up.