El Paso’s own, Beto O’Rourke is running for governor. It is a forgone conclusion that O’Rourke will win overwhelmingly in El Paso’s Primary elections. But the open question remains, can he outperform incumbent Greg Abbot in November? To find out Beto O’Rourke needs to win the Democrats’ primary today across Texas. O’Rourke is favored to win the primary today. But is that enough? Texas is a Republican state and although the Democrats believe they can turn Texas blue, it remains to be seen. Working against O’Rourke is the dismal voter turnout, not only in Texas but in El Paso as well.
In 2018, the Democrats outperformed the Republicans in early voting. In some counties, the Democrats outperformed the Republicans by almost 70% higher when compared to 2014. Clearly, the Democrats in Texas were motivated which led to the idea that Texas could be turned blue. Abbot, himself, warned the Republicans that the so-called “liberal wave” was about to turn Texas blue.
But early voting numbers across the state are low. This suggests that the Democrats in Texas are unmotivated in 2022. Polling shows that O’Rourke is likely to win the Primary with 60% of the vote. That is not enough to help him win in November. O’Rourke needs to prove that the Democrats are not only behind him but are motivated enough to cast votes for him. Any margin less than 70% for O’Rourke, especially when coupled to low voter turn out suggests that O’Rourke is unlikely to prevail in November 2022.
Also working against Beto O’Rourke are the two losses he has suffered over the last five years of campaigning. Are Texas voters willing to support a candidate that has lost in 2018 to Ted Cruz, and in the 2020 presidential primaries? Although well-liked by the Texas Democrats, Beto O’Rourke seems to have not translated that into motivated voters.
Likewise, although Abbott is considered to win the Primary outright, should he be forced into a runoff by his opponents, it would open the door slightly for Beto O’Rourke. Abbott’s margin of victory, like O’Rourke’s, will be predictive of O’Rourke’s chances to pull a win in November.
Yes, Beto O’Rourke has polled closer to Abbott in recent polling numbers, but are the polling numbers representative of actual voters or of wishful believers that do not show up to the polls? O’Rourke must prove he can motivate Democrat voters today by not only convincingly winning the Primary but getting the Democrats to the polls.
Add to the dismal Democrat voter turnout in Texas are Biden’s low polling numbers. Economic concerns and the ongoing pandemic controversies may keep many Democrats at home on Election Day. The early voting numbers are proving his. Although early voting in Texas has traditionally been low, the indicators so far show that Democrats in Texas are just not motivated enough to help Beto O’Rourke beat Greg Abbott in November.
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