SPOTLIGHT

Texas Forever

The Lone Star State spotlight shined both on Capitol Hill and in Iowa on Thursday.

Senate Majority Whip Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas., waves to reporters as he leaves a Senate policy luncheon on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, March 12, 2019.
AP Photo/Andrew Harnik
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Kyle Trygstad
March 14, 2019, 10:46 a.m.

What a day for Texas politics.

On Thursday, the Lone Star State, which hasn’t gone blue in a presidential election since 1976 and hasn’t elected a Democrat to the Senate since 1988, got its second Democratic presidential candidate and could see a preview of its second straight competitive Senate election.

As former Rep. Beto O’Rourke unveiled his campaign in a coffee shop in Iowa, former HUD Secretary Julian Castro—whose home base of San Antonio is 550 miles from O’Rourke’s in El Paso—welcomed him to the race with a long list of Texas endorsements.

Meanwhile, Castro’s brother, Rep. Joaquin Castro, who could launch a Senate campaign now that O’Rourke is running for president, plans to be in the Senate chamber when Republican Sen. John Cornyn casts his vote on the resolution of disapproval for President Trump’s national emergency declaration—of which Castro is the principal sponsor.

It’s quite a bit of political theater in a state O’Rourke helped to put back on the map. The trail he blazed from its far western corner sets it up as one to watch next November.

-- Kyle Trygstad

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