Democratic Senate Hopeful Beto O'Rourke Promises to Shore Up Minority Base in Trip to Oak Cliff

Senate candidate Beto O'Rourke is the hottest show on the campaign circuit, but minority voters are not filling much of the seats.So during a recent campaign stop in Oak Cliff, O'Rourke got an earful from black and Hispanic community leaders. Their message: "Don't forget about us.""We're not looking for a savior, just an opportunity to have our voices heard," said Jara Butler, a Democrat from Pleasant Grove. "For us, the dialogue has to change.""There's an opportunity here," said Rev. Michael Waters, senior pastor at Joy Tabernacle African Methodist Episcopal Church. "They just don't know about you."O'Rourke, the once largely unknown Democratic congressman from El Paso, is barnstorming through Texas with an underdog campaign against incumbent Sen. Ted Cruz that's jolted energy into the Democratic Party. His movement has been fueled by large crowds, impressive fundraising and an energy that could propel not only his candidacy, but the entire Texas Democratic Party ticket.His strategy involves aggressively campaigning in all of Texas' 254 counties and making appeals to voters from all backgrounds and political parties. That has translated to rallies in unlikely places. In February he met with nearly 2,000 fired up North Texans at a union hall in Garland. There have been similar events all over North Texas, including in Republicans areas in Tarrant County and Farmers Branch.But as his star keeps rising with white Democrats and crossover voters, O'Rourke has not yet caught fire with the Democratic Party's minority base. His trip to North Oak Cliff was his first stop in southern Dallas since last summer, when he announced his campaign at a bar in Fair Park.More inclusionO'Rourke concedes the Texas coalition he's building could be more inclusive."I'm hearing some really tough things I need to hear," he told the gathering at Mercado, a cultural center, gallery and cafe. "I'm going to act on them. Like you have said, it's ours to lose, if we fail to make the most of it."Even though the crowds don't yet reflect it, the strength of DFW for Beto, the group pushing his candidacy in North Texas, is its diversity. They have so-called ambassadors in most cities in the county. They are white, black, Asian and Hispanic.Meanwhile, Cruz is expected to cruise in his lightly contested GOP primary. Cruz, who is Cuban heritage, insists that his brand of conservatism can be sold to minority voters, but his campaigns for the Senate and the White House have had little appeal to blacks and Hispanics.While O'Rourke probably doesn't have to worry about Cruz making inroads with minority voters, he can't risk having part of his Democratic base stay home, much like they did with 2016 presidential nominee Hillary Clinton.  Continue reading...

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