O’Rourke’s campaign and supporters have bristled at the suggestion that he abandon ship. “I think in this age of Trump, when we’re all looking for moral leadership and presidential values and, really, American values, Beto O’Rourke has been a light in the woods here for us in the past couple weeks,” Boyd Brown, a former Democratic National Committee member who has helped O’Rourke in South Carolina, told Politico. But as the 2020 primary goes on and resources become scarce, the field is due to narrow, and candidates will have to evaluate whether they should find other ways to serve. Former Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper, whose campaign has been circling the drain as he fails to transcend his anonymity, is already confronting that reality, reportedly discussing suspending his campaign and redirecting his efforts toward challenging vulnerable Republican Sen. Cory Gardner.
Flipping Republican seats like Gardner’s will be essential if Democrats’ want to retake the Senate in 2020, and Hickenlooper, a popular governor whose presidential bid boosted his visibility, could have an increased shot at defeating him. O’Rourke, in turn, would be a formidable threat to Cornyn in a Senate race this cycle—and could represent strong moral leadership in a state and a chamber that desperately needs it. “Consider whether now is a good time to leave one race and join another,” the Chronicle wrote in its editorial. “Texas needs you back home.”