EL PASO — Former President Barack Obama has endorsed 11 Texas Democrats leading up to next month’s midterm elections. But none go by the popular four-letter moniker “Beto.”
On Thursday, the three-term Democratic congressman looking to unseat incumbent Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, had a simple response to being left off the list: We’re doing fine on our own.
“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.”
A date and location for Trump’s visit hasn’t been announced.