SAN ANTONIO (AP) — Democratic Congressman Beto O’Rourke of Texas still has work to do when it comes to energizing Latino voters in his race against Republican Sen. Ted Cruz.
O’Rourke needs a broad electorate in November to have a chance at pulling off one of the biggest upsets of the 2018 midterms. His path to victory includes getting more Latinos to the polls, which Texas Democrats have struggled to do for decades.
Texas ranks near the bottom in voter turnout. And while the state’s booming Hispanic population is on pace to outnumber whites as early as 2022, voters with Spanish surnames accounted for fewer than 1 in 5 votes in 2016.
Cruz is Texas’ first Hispanic senator and his father emigrated from Cuba. He says the values of the Hispanic community are conservative.