Robert Francis O’Rourke is a fourth-generation Irish-American. He was born in 1972 in El Paso, a city in the far western corner of Texas, where the state borders Mexico and New Mexico. El Paso defines much of his political identity. O’Rourke:
”It’s the most amazing place, visually. The people and the connection, the binational character of the community.”
His mother owned a furniture store and his father was a judge and the state chairman of Jesse Jackson‘s 1984 presidential campaign.
O’Rourke is currently serving as a three-term Representative for Texas’s 16th congressional district which native El Paso, first elected in 2012. Before becoming a member of Congress, O’Rourke was on the El Paso City Council from 2005 to 2011.
He is now the Democratic nominee in the current 2018 Texas Senate race, running against the always charming Republican incumbent Ted Cruz, whose father killed JFK. An Emerson College poll this week showed Cruz, a 2016 Republican presidential contender who is seeking his second term in the Senate, leading O’Rourke by a single point.
For as long as he can remember he has been called ”Beto”, an El Paso nickname for people named Robert or Roberto. Early in the current campaign Ted Cruz, whose given name is Rafael, took out an ad suggesting that Beto was using the name to appeal to Hispanic voters.
Apparently incensed by O’Rourke’s refusal to debate Cruz on Friday in Dallas, the Texas GOP took to Twitter to launch a series of attacks. One tweet read: ”Sorry, I’m going to have to skate on the debate Friday. I just got this killer board. I’m sure the voters won’t mind”, superimposed on an image from the 1990s of O’Rourke holding a skateboard.
In another tweet, the GOP shows O’Rourke in floral-print dress, his long hair in a loose ponytail, a photo from when he was the bass player of Foss, a punk band from the early 1990s, with the tweet saying: ”Maybe Beto can’t debate Ted Cruz because he already had plans…”
”The slip that we took in 2016, if unchecked in 2018, could become a slide. We could lose the things that have made us who we are for 242 years and counting. Time is running out. No pressure, folks. The entire fortune and future and fate of this country rests on our shoulders. The 2018 election the moment of truth.”