Sunday, February 18, 2018

Beto O'Rouke vs... Stefano de Stefano?


The Texas general election ballot in November?

Beto O'Rourke, a Democratic congressman from El Paso, hasn't been encouraged to run against Ted Cruz by Chuck Schumer and his DSCC. They haven't targeted Cruz or Texas and O'Rourke's independent way of thinking and anti-PAC stand frighten a Wall Street-owned hack like Schumer. Schumer is far more comfortable with a braindead zombie like Jackie Rosen in Nevada, who will do exactly what she's told by leadership and with another Schumer-like Wall Street droog like Kyrsten Sinema who Schumer picked for Arizona's next senator. The DSCC is all about Rosen and Synema and their stance towards O'Rourke has basically been "Beto? Beto? What's a Beto? Where's Texas? We're busy, leave us alone."

And that seems to have suited O'Rouke just fine. He's busy meeting Texas voters in places Texas Democrats haven't visited since LBJ ran for the Senate. While in Archer City for a town hall yesterday, an older man showed Beto a photo of his father and LBJ right there in Archer City. Why? He said it was the last time a Senate candidate-- from either party-- came to town. And Beto gets that a lot. It's been 40, 50 years since anyone bothered showing up in a lot of places. Beto pledged to visit all 254 counties in Texas, taking no one for granted and writing no one off. This morning he told us he's been to 220 so far. That means visiting places like Weatherford-- where he had between 4 and 500 people--even though it went 82% for Trump. It means visiting the reddest county in Texas (King) because the people of King County and their concerns, views, opinions matter just as much if Beto hopes to represent them. And it means coming back to these places like holding four town halls so far in Tyler and more in Lubbock and returning to Tarrant County each month to be held accountable. But it also means not taking Texans in the Rio Grande Valley for granted. Traditionally, Dems just swing into the valley to get out the vote before election day. Not Beto. He's held a dozen town halls in the Rio Grande Valley-- and importantly, in different locations within it, including Brownsville, Edinburg, Falfurrias, McAllen, Laredo, San Benito... He is not only showing up, but he is learning and taking their stories with him. He is being accountable and answering their questions face to face. No questions screened.

So of course, kissing up to Schumer's banksters and lobbyists isn't what he and his campaign are about. In many ways, he's the opposite of Chuck Schumer. Schumer has taken more money from Wall Street than any other politician-- who hasn't run for president-- in history. So far he's gobbled up $26,735,303 in legalistic bribes from Wall Street, considerably more than either McConnell ($12,276,007) or Paul Ryan ($11,909,105). PAC-happy Ted Cruz has taken $8,965,649 from the financial sector. Beto doesn't take a dime from PACs or special interests, which helps makes the point that he is here to listen to Texans. No one is calling the shots. No pollster, consultant, focus group, party boss... just the people of Texas. Non traditional Democrats respect this because they know he is being genuine, accountable, and they will never have to wonder if he is voting for that check or for the people. People every single time. He doesn't change his message depending on where he is. People in places that aren'y traditionally Democratic love this. They are tired of the BS and the scripted messages and the tip-toeing around tough but important issues. Beto talks about universal healthcare, gun safety, marijuana legalization, public schools, clean energy, women's health and access to reproductive healthcare everywhere he goes. Doesn't matter if it's a "red" county or a "Trump voter." He has a tangible record of bipartisan success to point to. Cruz can't even get along with his own party. People like to see that Beto has written and passed legislation by working with Republicans and by compromising so that the perfect doesn't become the enemy of the good. From the roadtrip with Hurd to  passing a mental healthcare bill  for veterans with Coffman to writing a bill to end the federal prohibition of marijuana with a tea-party Republican, Texans like seeing that Beto won't sit in a corner and hold his breath. 

And there's another Republican in the race. Not many people have ever heard of him-- not even in Texas. Stefano de Stefano has raised $92,506 and spent $78,887 introducing himself to Texas GOP voters in the run-up to the state's primary in just over 2 weeks. This weekend, the Dallas Morning News endorsed de Stefano over Cruz for the March 6 primary.
Texas Republicans have an opportunity in the March 6 primary featuring incumbent Sen. Ted Cruz and four Republican opponents to vote for the kind of public leadership that inspires America rather than divides it. A kind of leadership that gives America its best chance to address the very real challenges ahead.

To make the most of the moment, we urge voters to choose Houston energy lawyer Stefano de Stefano over Cruz. Stefano, 37, is an earnest if mostly untested conservative who offers Republicans a way past the bruising style that has characterized Cruz's time in public life.

De Stefano's views on immigration, energy, health care, the economy and social issues are conservative, but less reflexively so. And he is solution-oriented.

Just this week, as the Senate took a rare step toward an open, bipartisan debate over immigration, Cruz stood alone in opposition. Ninety-seven votes in favor. Only Cruz voted no.

De Stefano says he would have voted yes to have the debate, then worked to find a solution that works best for Texas. In explaining his platform, he offers a simple promise: a "return to normalcy."

Our senator has made few allies, even among Republicans in the Senate. He has a thin legislative record to show for it, though he has been more focused since the end of his bid for the 2016 Republican presidential nomination. This shift toward productive results enabled him to push for billions in Hurricane Harvey relief for Texas and steer a bipartisan NASA authorization bill to passage. Texas would be well served if it saw more of that work from its junior senator.

But last year's NASA bill is one of just two bills in five years on which he's been the sole sponsor that have become law. By comparison, Sen. Cory Gardner of Colorado, a Republican elected in 2014, has had three times as many.

Cruz's elbows have been so sharp and his disdain for deal-making so pronounced, that he's often stymied his own party's agenda. In 2013, he helped shut down the government to protest the Affordable Care Act. Even fellow GOP senators criticized the effort as grandstanding. Upset over a setback over the Export-Import Bank in 2015, he called the Senate's Republican leader a liar, poisoning prospects for progress.
Goal ThermometerEarly voting in Texas starts February 20, this Tuesday. This morning Beto told us that "The fact that Ted Cruz has not been present in the state, not been accountable to his constituents, and not been committed to working on their behalf is not lost on Texans. Whether it's immediately leaving the state to campaign in all 99 counties of Iowa after being sworn to represent all 254 of Texas, whether it's leaving Texas-- the defining border state-- on the sidelines by being the only senator to vote against starting a discussion on immigration reform, whether it's continuing to try and knock millions of people off their health insurance at a time when we have the highest uninsured rate in the nation, Texans are not only ready to hold him accountable, but they are ready for our state to lead again." That thermometer on the right is for Democrats in tough Senate races this year. Take a look and see if there's anyone in there you'd like to help win in November.

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