Running Against an Incumbent

Writer: Ashley Bow

Running against an incumbent is difficult. Other than already having dedicated voters, incumbents have more money, more sway, and better name recognition from voters. Texas senate challenger Beto O’Rourke faces more than just those issues, however.

Beto, as he prefers to be called, is running for senate in a state where voters haven’t elected a democratic nominee in over two decades. The most recent democratic Senator from Texas was Bob Krueger, who took office in 1993.

Born a fourth-generation Texan in El Paso, Beto beat an eight-term incumbent for his current position as a Representative. He plans to use his platform to stand up for the way he believes politicians should act. For example, if elected, he will serve only two terms as a senator because of his stance on congressional term limits.

Defeating the Republican incumbent Ted Cruz in our red state will not be an easy feat. Though as of October, Cruz had only a 38% approval rating according to the Texas Politics Project, people outside of the El Paso district only recently began hearing Beto’s name.

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Beto has a plan to change that, though. He has livestreamed his interviews and visits to town halls all over Texas in an effort to show transparency and reach a broader audience of voters.

Beto is also running a grassroots campaign because of his belief that accepting money from Political Action Committees and corporate lobbyists leads to legislation being “written by the highest bidder.” As a Representative, he even introduced a bill to prevent elected officials from receiving PAC money. This means that all of his campaign money will come from individuals who believe in the things he wants to do while in office.