Early voting for Texas’ Senate race kicked off on October 22nd, and candidates are making their final push in what has been one of the most closely-watched races of the year. In a conservative red state where Democrats haven’t won a statewide election since 1994, Democratic candidate and congressman Beto O’Rourke has built a swell of support for his progressive platform against the odds. He’s managed to fundraise $60 million while eschewing support from political action committees; attract massive crowds to his campaign rallies; and, at several points in the campaign, poll within single digits of his opponent, Ted Cruz.
But as we enter the final stretch, O’Rourke faces an uphill battle to turning Texas blue. This makes Latino voter turn out – already a focal point in a state where Latinos are now the minority majority demographically – more critical than ever. While Democratic candidates have taken Latino voters for granted in previous election cycles, the O’Rourke campaign has made a concerted effort to connect with this community, even in areas of Texas where Democratic candidates don’t normally spend much time campaigning because they reliably vote blue. This includes the Rio Grande Valley region, where O’Rourke stopped last week to hold a large event that featured a free performance from Los Tigres del Norte.
We had a chance to sit down with congressman O’Rourke as Los Tigres del Norte were taking the stage, where he explained “This is a place, much like my hometown of El Paso, that I feel gets written off far too often. Forgotten, if it was ever remembered in the first place. I want to make sure that we’re here as much as we can be to listen to everybody.”
Watch the video below to hear O’Rourke’s thoughts on Latino outreach, how growing up on the border in El Paso has informed his perspective as a politician, and his reflections on the campaign journey. Learn more about how O’Rourke and Cruz stack up on the issues that matter most to Latinos here, and for information on finding your polling place in Texas, check out VoteTexas.gov.