Beto and the downballot Dems

I don’t sweat this too much, but there are a couple of points to address.

Rep. Beto O’Rourke

“If there’s $20 in a room, $10 of it is going to Beto. That’s just happening right now,” said [Joanna] Cattanach, who’s challenging Republican state Rep. Morgan Meyer of Dallas this fall. “The rest of it goes, in order, to the congressional candidates, [state] Senate candidates and then, if you’re lucky, as a state House candidate you can get some of that too.”

With the 2018 midterms less than three months away, Cattanach and other Texas Democrats are facing an issue that’s not uncommon for candidates lower on the ballot: getting noticed when the name at the top of the ballot is getting the most attention.

What stands out this year, many candidates and operatives say, is the level of excitement O’Rourke is generating among the party’s base, a situation that has led to the U.S. Senate race dominating attention this summer — over virtually every other race on the ballot.

Despite the fanfare surrounding O’Rourke’s run, the race remains Cruz’s to lose. Texas hasn’t elected a Democrat statewide in nearly 25 years. Cruz won his Senate seat in 2012 by 16 points. Yet lower on the ballot, Democrats see races where a win is far more likely — if only they can get out of O’Rourke’s shadow.

But, as former Austin-based Democratic consultant Harold Cook points out, the only thing worse than having a popular name at the top of the ticket is not having one.

“If you have one Democrat that’s doing well, that’s going to help down-ballot races,” Cook said. “I can tell you that some Democrat in Texas is going to win a House seat who would not have won if Beto were not doing well at the top of the ballot. Beto is going to do whatever he can do to break up a straight-ticket Republican vote, and do a pretty good job increasing turnout.”


Even some Republicans consultants think down-ballot candidates have reason to worry about the focus on O’Rourke’s campaign against Cruz.

“If I were the Democrats, I’d be putting a lot more energy into competitive state House and state Senate races and stuff down the ballot. They have a real opportunity,” said Brendan Steinhauser, an Austin-based GOP strategist. “But that’s what happens, right? These big races do take up a lot of the time and energy of the volunteers and the money of the donors, and it’s going to be really, really difficult for any Democrat to win statewide — even O’Rourke.”

“So if I was a Democrat, I’d be saying, “I’m a state House candidate. I’ve got a shot to win. This race is competitive and if I just had $50,000 of what O’Rourke got, I can probably win this thing,” he added.

Once again I find myself in agreement with Brandon Steinhauser. We do need to be giving more money to State House candidates. There are some very winnable races that lack sufficient funding. To some degree that’s on the candidates themselves, but for sure there’s a lot less oxygen in the room for them after Beto and the top-tier Congressionals. We are all banking on the assumption that Beto and anger about Trump will help bring out Democratic voters who don’t normally vote in elections like this one, and that will help raise the tide for everyone. But that tide can always be made a little higher in a given locality, and there’s no substitute for ensuring that voters know who you are and what you’re running for.

That said, this is mostly an issue on the margins, and the existence of the enthusiasm for Beto is by far the biggest asset to everyone’s campaign. There’s also time to raise more money to help fund mailers and the like, and as noted in the story a lot of these candidates are getting spillover benefits from Beto. I can tell you that every candidate I’ve interviewed so far has spoken of the positive effects of his campaign. If you want to know what you can do right now to help Democratic candidates win, there are two main answers: Help register voters, and give some of your time, talent, and/or treasure to legislative and county candidates, or your local county coordinated campaign. A little of that will go a long way.

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12 Responses to Beto and the downballot Dems

  1. Manny Barrera says:

    It has gotten tricky on registering voters, other than handing them a card to register. There are criminal penalties if done wrong.

    What one can do is get people to vote, this coming election my wife and I will pick up voters in our precinct and take them to early vote. I have already committed about 20 people to vote and will keep reminding them.

    My Beto and Lupe sign are proudly up on my yard.

  2. Manny Barrera says:

    Off topic, I am now a proud ACLU card carrying member, received my card yesterday.

    R E S I S T

    Joined the Sharpstown Democrats a week ago.

  3. Bill Daniels says:

    “What one can do is get people to vote, this coming election my wife and I will pick up voters in our precinct and take them to early vote.”

    Which cemetery will you be going to?

  4. Manny Barrera says:

    Bill you are a hoot. You do know that I posted above to get you to comment. We need to keep pointing out to the world that the Republicans are the party of racist and you do a great job of representing them.

  5. Christopher Busby says:

    I think its a false dillema. The turnout Beto will push is an uncomparable asset to anything the downballot could produce. In the end, much like 2008, having a strong dem candidate at the top of the ticket will reap rewards for the lower ballot dem candidates.

  6. Bill Daniels says:


    I’m just concerned that you will have monkeyed around with the election.

  7. Manny Barrera says:

    The video opens up to an African American man, proves the point about the Republican Party being a den of racists snakes.

  8. Bill Daniels says:


    Feinstein and Shumer both used the word monkey, exactly as Desantis did, but you won’t call them out as white racists. Why?

  9. Manny Barrera says:

    Help me out Bill show me the links to where those two above referred to African Americans as Monkey or were referring to them somehow.

    I looked for it but could not find it, but Briebart and Info Wars would not be found easily as the number of people that believe that bs is limited.

  10. Bill Daniels says:

    “I’ve been very surprised the administration hasn’t done something about it,” said Sen. Dianne Feinstein of California, the top Democrat on the Senate Intelligence Committee. “I think it’s a very serious problem. This isn’t a small matter. It’s an historic matter. No one has ever been allowed to monkey around with our electoral system.”

    https: //

    “Donald Trump threw a monkey wrench with the wall,” said Senator Chuck Schumer of New York, the Democratic leader.

  11. Manny Barrera says:

    Bill if you can’t tell the difference there is no hope for you. Shumer was referring to a wall and funding when he used throwing a monkey wrench, that is actually an old expression.

    Feinstein is also terms that have been around for a while

    Unlike you Bill when I believe something I don’t make exceptions because it has an R or a D in front of it.

    This year may be different because a D may sneak in that I have not research because I am voting straight Democrat and almost every day I convince at least one more person to do like wise.

    Like I mentioned previously, I am making sure by offering to take them to vote early.

  12. Manny Barrera says:

    Having trouble comments sometimes don’t post.

    I still have a monkey wrench, those two examples you gave are not similar, but it is typical of Republicans to say the Democrats did it to. I don’t vote for either and they don’t live in Texas, but if you have been coming here, I have no problem stating what is not popular in a particular forum. That is why I hardly post on Big Jolly they don’t like people that don’t agree with them and stop them from posting.

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