Pour One Out for the Beto-Castro-Meter
Beto bows out gracefully while Castro hunkers down
De mortuis nihil nisi bonum, and over the weekend one could feel Beto O'Rourke's wind-whipped reputation growing sunnier once more, as the Man from El Paso bowed out of the 2020 presidential contest with at least some dignity intact, and with at least some respect from his fellow candidates, and with the Beltway Kool Kidz feeling at least a little less urgency to dunk on him just because. But even after braving mid-October headlines like "Beto O'Rourke 2020 Has Been Worse Than Useless" ... maybe he dropped out too early after all? On Monday, the UT/Texas Tribune Poll voters showed O'Rourke with 14% support in the March 3 Texas Democratic primary, behind Joe Biden and Elizabeth Warren. On the one hand, that's the same position Beto occupied in September, as Warren has gained and Biden slipped. On the other hand, it's far ahead of where O'Rourke polled in any other state, suggesting that if he could survive the grueling four months and four early-state battles between now and Super Tuesday, he might have a shot. He decided to not put himself, his family, and his campaign team through that ordeal, while attempting to say really loud for the folks in the back that he's not jumping into the race against John Cornyn either. So who picks up Beto's supporters in Texas, in both the presidential and Senate contests? Who does he want to?
Meanwhile, Julián Castro is parceling out his meager jug of oil and jar of meal, hoping for a miracle. The UT/Tribune poll found Castro with a puny 2% support, no better than Tulsi Gabbard in his own home state. After meeting an emergency do-or-die $800,000 fundraising goal on Halloween, Castro this week announced he's shutting down his New Hampshire and South Carolina operations, aiming to go all-in for the Iowa and Nevada caucuses – the latter being the first state with a major Latinx voting bloc to voice its choice. Early voting in Texas begins Feb. 18; Nevada votes Feb. 22.