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Congressmen from El Paso and San Antonio Eye Senate Run, Rally On Each Other's Home Turf

Two Democratic congressmen considering U.S. Senate campaigns to unseat Ted Cruz spent the weekend at rallies in each other’s home towns. 


Rep. Joaquin Castro from San Antonio eyed support in El Paso, while Rep. Robert Francis “Beto” O’Rourke of El Paso held a rally in Castro’s back yard.

In San Antonio a crowd of about 200, mostly Democrats, packed the patio of the Tycoon Flats burger restaurant Saturday night.  Organizers tried to mobilize support for unseating Sen. Cruz next year.


Donato Medina, who drove to the event from McAllen, led the crowd in a chant: “Hey, hey, ho, ho, Ted Cruz has gotta go. “

Credit Shelley Kofler / Texas Public Radio


San Antonio’s Joaquin Castro says he’ll decide in April whether to run for his Party’s senate nomination and a possible showdown with Cruz, who has said he will seek reelection. 


Saturday, as Castro spoke in El Paso, some of his constituents gathered at Tycoon Flats to hear from El Paso’s Congressman, Beto O’Rourke.


“So much of the work that’s important to you, that’s important to this country that’s important to Texas is not getting done.  We’re not able to get comprehensive immigration reform. Instead we’re getting immigration roundups,” said O’Rourke, a tall, lanky 44-year old who’s appearance has been described as Kennedy-esque.


Jody Iglesias says he’s supported Castro, his congressman, but is checking out the options.


“I haven’t heard definitively that Castro is running (for the Senate) so, my ideal scenario would be that Beto would run for the senate and one of the Castros would run for governor.”

Credit Shelley Kofler / Texas Public Radio
Rep. Joaquin Castro, a San Antonio Democrat, says he'll announce whether he's running for the U.S. Senate in April.


Joseph Nazaroff says he’s also evaluating possible candidates. He’s an independent voter who believes other Texans like him may lean Democrat in future elections.

“I think Donald Trump has ruined the Republican Party.  I can deal with a sane Republican.  But he’s not.”


O’Rourke, the founder of a technology company, and father of three, is beginning his fifth year in the U.S. House where he serves on the Armed Services and Veterans committees. 


In the Alamo City he found an enthusiastic audience for his take on President Trump.


“(He’s) someone who stirs the worst in us- the paranoia, the fear, the anxiety, the hatred- and masks it as patriotism or nationalism or America first.”


O’Rourke says those opposed to Trump’s policies shouldn’t wait four years to change Washington.


“If you want to know how to take back your government, take back the Senate. 

If you want to know how to take back the Senate, take back Texas,” he told the crowd.

Credit Shelley Kofler
Rep. Beto O'Rourke fielded questions from reporters about a possible run for the U.S. Senate in 2018. He says he'll decide soon.

The El Paso native knows the odds of a Democrat winning statewide in Texas are long.  It hasn’t happened for 30 years.  He says, however, that during the past three months while traveling the state he’s found a lot of independent-minded Texans who want results, and they don’t care which political party delivers.  O”Rourke says Cruz hasn’t delivered.



“Here’s somebody who shut down the government for 16 days in 2013 preventing folks at the VA from being able to see and take care of veterans; stressing those who are in the toughest jobs in Border Patrol and Customs and border protection; and who’s used his position in the United State Senate to run for president,” he said in a conversation with Texas Public Radio. 


“I think Texans deserve better.  They deserve someone who’s going to be a full-time senator.”


O’Rourke calls Rep. Castro a friend who would make a good senator but says,
“I don’t know what Joaquin is going to do.
 So I’ll make my decision on whether to run for the Senate independent of any other candidate.”


O’Rourke expects to make that announcement soon.