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Beto on the road

A great chance to meet our Senate nominee, if you haven’t already.

Rep. Beto O’Rourke

Looking to overcome the long odds in his U.S. Senate campaign, U.S. Rep. Beto O’Rourke, D-El Paso, has hit the road for an aggressive 34-day tour of Texas.

O’Rourke launched the trip without much fanfare at the end of last month, when he flew to San Antonio and bought a new truck for the trip. He does not plan to return home to El Paso until Aug. 31, when he’s due for a monthly town hall with his constituents. No other candidate is currently campaigning across Texas quite as aggressively.

“I want to do this as hard as I can and make every effort to meet every Texan as possible,” O’Rourke said in an interview Thursday. In a state as large as Texas, he added, such an itinerary is the “only way you’re going to have any hope of meeting the people that you want to represent.”

O’Rourke’s campaign has a name for the trip: “Town Hauling Across Texas.”

The trip, much of which O’Rourke has been livestreaming on his Facebook page, has already taken him to the Rio Grande Valley, Far West Texas and the Panhandle. In those places, he has held traditional campaign events such as town halls and meet and greets, as well as less-formal activities — such as block walking Thursday in Wichita Falls.

Over the next week, he’s set to hit North Texas and East Texas, with stops planned after that in Houston, College Station, Waco, Victoria, LaGrange, San Angelo, Midland, Odessa and Abilene.

Beto was in and around Houston this weekend, and I got to see and hear him speak at an event on Friday night. He’s got charisma and is an engaging speaker. I’m sure that the people who are going to hear him will come away impressed and ready to support him. O’Rourke name-checked a lot of towns and counties that he’s been to in places where there aren’t a lot of Dems – in the Panhandle, in East Texas, and more. He’s apparently been drawing some good crowds, which is encouraging. There’s only so many people that even the most energetic candidate can meet via live events, but the intent is to activate volunteers to proselytize to friends and neighbors. Which is to say, the Battleground Texas model, which was never really employed in 2014. Along the same lines, they plan to work on college students, in the same less-common places as well as the usual ones. How well it will all work remains to be seen, but it’s a sound plan and a good person to try and make it happen. But don’t take my word for it, take advantage of an opportunity this time or another time – there will surely be one – to see Beto yourself and make your own judgment.

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  1. neither here nor there says:

    Have already donated money to him, will probably send some more next month.

  2. V says:

    Saw him in Pearland on Saturday. It was SRO in a large room with a supportive crowd of about 500 people. He impressed me, and we’ll be giving him a donation this week.

  3. Flypusher says:

    I went to the Saturday morning event too. He took unscreened questions from the audience, and stayed at least an hour and a half past the scheduled end of the event to meet with people who wanted to talk to him.

    One of the things I told him was that I appreciated a member of Congress who had the spine to go out and talk with people with pre-screening anything. I have more time to give than $, so that’s the route I’ll take.

  4. Joel says:

    “Senate nominee” ?

    what did i miss?

  5. Joel, you didn’t miss anything. I’m being presumptive, but I think the odds favor my presumption.

  6. Flypusher says:

    They were passing around a petition to get Beto formally on the ballot. I considered signing it, but I decided not to because I’d be giving up my Indy status. I want to reserve my right to chose to vote in the GOP primary if I judge that I’ll get more bang for my votes there.

  7. neither here nor there says:

    Smart move Fly, I have doing that most of adult life. Republicans did that to Democrats for a long time.