Two major Texas newspapers have endorsed Democrat Beto O’Rourke for US Senate. This is a major development in a much-watched race that could determine control of the Senate after the midterms. It is unclear what direct impact the endorsements will have.
The Dallas Morning News and the Houston Chronicle have both endorsed O’Rourke, citing the enthusiasm surrounding his campaign. Both newspapers lean to the right, making their support for O’Rourke significant. The Chronicle has long supported Republicans, endorsing Cruz in 2012.
“O’Rourke is no conservative Democrat,” the Morning News wrote in an editorial. “His positions on taxes, immigration, the judiciary, federal regulations and health care are further to the left than many statewide voters would like.”
“But he is shattering expectations in a state where Democrats haven’t won a statewide race in decades. The dollars he has raised and the number of supporters he has garnered are evidence of an embedded hunger in this state and country for a campaign that’s based on unifying communities.”
Ted Cruz leads Beto O’Rourke by 6 points in the latest poll, though the race has appeared much closer at times. Cruz is the incumbent in a deep red state and Republican voters can be trusted to line up behind him. Paradoxically, however, Cruz is one of the least popular politicians in the nation – a reputation that has hurt his chances.
Beto O’Rourke remains the underdog as the midterms draw closer, but winning endorsements from major newspapers with Republican-leaning audiences could make a difference. However, a loss for Cruz would be a disastrous upset for the GOP.