As O’Rourke slogs through a difficult primary season, he’s not only struggling to gain the support of voters who don’t know of him, but also to hold on to the support of those who know him best, Texans who powered his long-shot campaign against Republican Sen. Ted Cruz last year.
In that race, they saw O’Rourke as the big-hearted underdog to a Republican despised by Democrats, a candidate who gave soaring speeches that brought some to tears and inspired others to donate to his campaign. But in the presidential race, O’Rourke is up against fellow Democrats with similar values and inspiring speeches of their own – and, in some cases, more legislative experience and firmer plans for how to fix many of the problems facing the country. The fresh face of 2018 somehow seems stale.
“I think Texas still loves Beto. The difference is Texas voters have more suitors now,” said Ed Espinoza, the executive director of Progress Texas, a rapid response media organization based in Austin…
Lisa Allen, a 59-year-old physician assistant who lives in Muleshoe, in the deeply conservative Texas Panhandle, volunteered for O’Rourke’s Senate campaign and has donated to his presidential campaign – but she worries he doesn’t have enough experience or policy understanding, and that he could be overpowered by Trump on a debate stage. If she had to vote today, she would pick Warren.
“I still wish him the best,” she said of O’Rourke. “And maybe he will step it up a notch.”