Julian Nader Saliani
Jul 22 · 4 min read

Beto O’Rourke is our best candidate.

He’s polling well, has extremely high name recognition, and he’s proven he’s got the ground game to reach every voter.

He’s clearly the best Democrat… for the 2020 Texas Senate race.

Oh, you thought I meant the presidency? Ummm no, he’s barely polling in that race, has struggled to make a dent in media appearances, and didn’t perform well in the first televised debate.

But in Texas, O’Rouke’s incredible senate run in 2018 made him a household name in Texas and the best Democratic candidate to run in a state that has been solidly red for decades.

Beto during his 2018 Senate campaign (source: Dallas Morning News)

Here are my four key reason why Beto needs to run for Senate in 2020.

#1) Democrats need the Senate in 2020. Winning Texas could be the difference.

To pass any of the legislation from 2020 Democrats, they will need a majority in both chambers of Congress. In the house, Democrats have a solid chance to retain it, as they just won it back in 2018.

The Senate, that’s is a whole different story.

Democrat’s need to gain a net of 3 seats if they win the presidency, plus hold the 11 that are up for reelection in 2020. With only a third of the Senate seats up for election (34), every potential seat is extremely important.

Because if Democrats fail to take the Senate, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has already pledged to break every norm in order to block all Democratic legislation, rendering the Democrat’s political agenda pretty pointless.

So, that brings us to the 2020 Texas Senate election. Who holds that seat right now: John Cornyn.

Cornyn is not very popular, with as low as a 37% approval rating, meaning he’s vulnerable for a strong Democratic challenge. Trump is also polling poorly in the state relative to other Republican strongholds, literally 50–50 in this recent poll.

It’s a great opportunity for a strong Democratic candidate to take him on, but whoever decides to run, they will run into the typical problem that faces Democrats in a state as big as Texas:

Name Recognition

Which leads me to reason #2:

#2) Beto already set up the infrastructure to reach voters across the state.

Texas is a big state. It’s over 260,000 miles, and consists of 15 million potential voters. Making yourself a known politician across all of Texas is step 1 to running a winnable campaign.

Beto’s already done that.

He spent two years traveling to all 254 counties in the state. He visited community centers, town halls and restaurants. He went everywhere a Texan can call home.

After all that hard work, Beto had a name recognition of 94% right before the midterms, versus 45% when he just started running.

Any other Democrat not named Beto O’Rourke, they’ll need to spend a significant amount of their time and money just getting their face out there so all of Texas knows who they are. Not impossible difficult.

Beto on the other hand, he could spend his time refining his message, honing in on the issues he wants to focus on most.

That wide name recognition from his previous campaign, it leads me to reason #3.

#3) Beto’s already polling neck-and-neck with John Cornyn, his would be opponent

Back in February, Quinnipiac released a poll showing Beto tied Cornyn, 46–46.

Tied. With his potential opponent over a year out from the election. Insane.

Meanwhile he’s polling at just 2% in the Iowa Democratic primary, barely making a dent in the conversation. He’s not a front runner, and the odds that he could make a serious run at the nomination is fading.

But the fourth, and perhaps most important reason why Beto should run for Senate again… it’s a fairly straight forward one, and one that no one seems to be talking about.

#4) Winning the Texas Senate race would put Beto’s career back on path

Beto became a house-hold name by running an inspiring campaign, trying to overcome huge odds and flip Texas.

He almost did it, but he came up short. For someone to run such a strong race, only to come up just short, that’s painful.

I know this isn’t a fair comparison, but as someone who ran competitively for 9 years, the races that stick with you, they’re the ones that just get away. The failures never fade, unless you can avenge them.

So what’s the best way for Beto to avenge his loss? Winning that damn seat.

Winning that Senate seat would give Beto that success story, and allow him the stage to start crafting a successful record that, and if he eventually wanted to run for president, he could tout it. He could say he was committed to truly changing Texas, the core of what encapsulated his 2018 run.

Bottom-line, winning that Senate seat would get Beto back on track. For the sake of his career, and the potential of a Democratic majority in the Senate, I hope he reconsiders.

Julian Nader Saliani

Written by

Data analyst obsessed with societal sustainability and podcasts.

Welcome to a place where words matter. On Medium, smart voices and original ideas take center stage - with no ads in sight. Watch
Follow all the topics you care about, and we’ll deliver the best stories for you to your homepage and inbox. Explore
Get unlimited access to the best stories on Medium — and support writers while you’re at it. Just $5/month. Upgrade