The last time a politician who was not a member of the Republican Party won a statewide race in Texas was in 1994, making Texas the state with the longest dry spell for Democrats winning anything other than a local race. No other state, including Idaho, South Carolina or Utah, has gone so long without electing a Democratic candidate for a statewide office.
But for the first time in nearly 25 years, a Democratic candidate is within spitting distance to win the race for Texas Senator. Public Policy Polling just released numbers that show Senate candidate Beto O’Rourke with 42% of the statewide vote, against Ted Cruz with 48%. O’Rourke’s campaign released a jubilant call for donations based on the news. Meanwhile, Ted Cruz paused for 18 seconds this week before responding to a reporter’s question about whether a president can pardon himself, as President Trump claimed recently.
Will this be the year that Texas’s blood-red statewide electorate goes just a teensy bit magenta? Only time, and voter turnout, will tell.