Beto O'Rourke 'not interested' in endorsement from Obama
Texas Democratic Senate candidate Beto O'Rourke said yesterday he was "not interested" in an endorsement from former president Barack Obama, despite the popularity of the ex-chief executive among Democrats across the country.
"I don't think we're interested [in an endorsement]," Beto O'Rourke said after a town hall at a local high school. "I am so grateful to him for his service, he's going to go down as one of the greatest presidents. And yet, this [election] is on Texas."
Obama's endorsements include five candidates for the Texas House and six vying for the U.S Congress, including O'Rourke's likely Democratic successor, former El Paso County Judge Veronica Escobar.
O'Rourke said his campaign didn't reach out to the Obama camp for an endorsement and added that he's been down this road before. When he ran what was considered his underdog 2012 campaign to defeat former U.S. Rep. Silvestre Reyes, the incumbent received nods from Obama and former president Bill Clinton.
It didn't work then, O'Rourke said.
"Bill Clinton fills up the county coliseum and a screaming El Paso Times front page headline [said] 'President urges El Paso to stick with Reyes,'" he said. "And we won. And what that drove home for me is that someone else's popularity is not transferrable to a given candidate."
Meanwhile Cruz has accepted help from President Donald Trump's son, Donald Trump Jr., who campaigned for Cruz in Wichita Falls on Wednesday. The president has also announced an event with Cruz sometime this month in what he said would be the "biggest stadium in Texas."
Obama is popular with many Democrats in Texas – especially those in deep blue districts where the GOP candidate doesn't have a chance.
But in a contested race, Obama's endorsement would probably hurt as much as it helped. This is especially true in the statewide Texas race for the Senate, where O'Rourke is going to need every vote he can get to upset incumbent Senator Ted Cruz. Obama is particularly unpopular among Republicans in Texas, and given the politics of the race, Beto is going to need some GOP votes to win.
That wouldn't be likely with an Obama endorsement.