Local expert says Beto momentum could turn Texas blue in the future

Supporters of Beto O'Rourke, D-El Paso, cheer as he arrives for a rally at the Pan American Neighborhood Park in Austin, Texas, on Sunday, Nov. 4, 2018. (Nick Wagner/Austin American-Statesman via AP)

A UTEP professor is saying that Democrats could have a future in Texas even though Beto O’Rourke lost the Senate race against incumbent Ted Cruz.

"I'm very sad, I was hoping to see a different result,” said Gloria Pena after O’Rourke’s loss.

UTEP assistant professor of political science, Todd Curry, said O’Rourke’s loss may have residual affects statewide.

“Looking back to just 2014 election, El Paso itself had a turnout around 45,000 this time around the turnout was 200,000. And almost all of that can be attributed to Beto,” said Curry.

He says O’Rourke had an impact not only in El Paso but across the state.

O’Rourke lost against Ted Cruz by about 2 percent.

Curry says Texas Democrats could eventually turn the state blue but they'll need to keep up the “Beto momentum,” particularly with young voters.

“The younger generation is coming up and I'm hoping they take strides in trying to get the Democrats into office more here in Texas. I think it'll work,” said Julia Gedaly of West El Paso.

Demographic shifts across the state could also play a role in future elections, according to Curry.

“Those rural districts who were solid Cruz districts are going to remain Republican districts moving forward but the percentage of people who live in those districts as compared to those who live in metropolitan districts is going to strict,” said Curry.

“I wish everybody would just come together and support the country, not so much the party,” said Jesus Olivas of West El Paso.

Curry said that a Beto-like candidate will have to be on the ballot next election.

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