Senate candidate is getting national attention


Associated Press

AUSTIN, Texas

If elections were decided by viral videos and fawning media profiles, Democrat Beto O’Rourke would win Texas’ Senate race in a landslide.

Video of the candidate defending NFL players’ right to protest during the national anthem had been viewed by millions even before NBA star LeBron James called it a “must-watch.” Another of O’Rourke, a three-term congressman, thrashing through a Whataburger parking lot on a skateboard is almost as popular, increasing the onetime punk rocker’s already considerable street cred.

National magazines are suggesting he could be a Democratic vice-presidential pick in 2020 – or even a White House contender, a la a young Barack Obama. Sure, O’Rourke may lose to incumbent Republican Sen. Ted Cruz, the argument goes, but just staying competitive in Texas, which hasn’t elected a Democrat to statewide office in nearly a quarter century, would still further boost his political star.

The White House is taking notice. President Donald Trump tweeted that he plans to stage “a major rally” for Cruz in October. Help from the president was long unthinkable in a race that for months looked like a Cruz cakewalk.

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