DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – Beto O’Rourke is exciting Texas Democrats by attracting crowds and big money for his campaign to unseat Republican Senator Ted Cruz.
During the second quarter of this year, O’Rourke announced he raised $10.4 million and has more than $14 million cash on hand.
Cruz reported that his campaign raised nearly $4.6 million during the second quarter and has nearly $10.5 million cash on hand.
SMU Political Science Professor Cal Jillson is a veteran analyst and says the money O’Rourke has raised will have an impact. “He’s going to be able to go toe to toe with Cruz until the end of the general election, which Democrats are not usually able to do.”
Jillson says O’Rourke may have cash and crowds, “But whether he can prevail in a red state is doubtful. It’s going to be a great race, but if I was betting the rent money, it would still be with Cruz.”
He says that’s because O’Rourke is still introducing himself, and because in addition to Cruz, there are many other popular Republicans on the statewide ballot, including Governor Greg Abbott, Lt. Governor Dan Patrick, and Attorney General Ken Paxton. “So when the down-ticket races below the Senate race is leaning heavily Republican, that’s going to help Cruz, even in an exciting race against O’Rourke, to prevail in the end.”
As of now, Jillson predicts Cruz will beat O’Rourke by 7to 9 points.
A CBS News Battleground Tracker poll last month among likely voters in Texas found Cruz with 50 percent and O’Rourke with 40 percent.
Other recent polls of registered voters in Texas have shown a much closer race.
Celia Morgan, the President of Texas Young Democrats says she is very excited about O’Rourke. “This is the first time we’ve seen a candidate with enthusiasm, excitement, with the momentum we have seen.”
Republican Ted Cruz remains one of the state’s most popular politicians as he seeks a second term.
Dave Gebhart, volunteers for the Cruz campaign with his wife Anne says, “He’s remained true to who he said he would be while he’s been in office and for that very reason alone, because he has represented the values he campaigned on, we are very excited to have him there for another term.”
Supporters for Cruz and O’Rourke say they will continue making phone calls and going on block-walks to get out the vote.
Morgan says, “I think it’s really going to be dependent how hard we work between now and November to make sure Democrats turnout in a mid-term cycle.”
Anne Gebhart says, “You’re not going to have as many voters coming out as you do for a presidential year, so it’s going to be more important than ever to make sure we get our base out.”