Former Texas Rep. Beto O’Rourke believes that Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden can win Texas’ 38 electoral votes this November – a move that would mark a drastic change for a state once considered firmly in the hands of the Republican Party.
O’Rourke, a Democrat who came to national prominence when he ran a close race challenging Texas Republican Sen. Ted Cruz for this seat, told CBS late last week that the Lone Star state was “Biden’s to lose.”
“My contention is that this is Biden’s to lose. And we’re not going to wait for the Biden campaign to wake up to that reality,” O’Rourke told CBS’s Major Garrett in an episode of “The Takeout” podcast.
While acknowledging that Biden is currently focused on more traditional battleground states like Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, Michigan and Minnesota, the former congressman said it would be good for the Democratic nominee to make more appearances in the state.
“Please, by all means, expand this map and show us that we here in Texas are important to you,” O’Rourke said. “And we will respond in kind and turn out like you’ve never seen us turn out.”
O’Rourke added that he believes that Texas will play a crucial role in deciding who wins this year’s presidential election.
“I think, I firmly believe, I almost know, that this election for president is going to come down to Texas,” he said.
Despite O’Rourke’s optimism of Biden’s chances of capturing Texas, all recent polls indicate that President Trump holds a lead in the state with the RealClearPolitics average of polls showing Trump up 3.2 points on Biden in Texas.
The last time a Democrat was able to capture Texas was in 1976 when Jimmy Carter beat then-President Gerald Ford – and ultimately captured the election.
Overall, however, Biden’s lead nationally over Trump has widened since last week’s chaotic debate in Cleveland, Ohio with an NBC/Wall Street Journal poll showing Biden up 14 points on the president. The RealClearPolitics average of national polls has Biden besting Trump by 8.1 points with less than a month to go before the election.