Senator Cruz still leads in the polls, but his lead has shrunk from around 10 points in May and June to single digits in two polls out this week. A new Quinnipiac poll gives Cruz a six point lead, while a Texas Lyceum Poll puts Cruz up by just two points.
AISD school board member Samuel Garcia welcomed O'Rourke to the stage. The crowd's enthusiastic response reflects O'Rourke's growing momentum, even in rural parts of Texas like Abilene.
This was O'Rourke's fourth stop in Abilene in his effort to unseat Senator Ted Cruz. He doesn't have any expectation of winning all the deep red rural counties. And he says he doesn't know whether the state will be part of a "blue wave" but he says he's confident that he's bringing together Republicans, Democrats, Independents-and people who say they haven't voted in 2 decades.
"This is about the future of our country, and what's at stake, for our kids and the generations that follow us. So I am convinced that Texas is gonna help to get us back on the right track, help to restore a democracy that's been compromised by fealty to corporations and special interests. Texas is doing something really exciting right now, and the fact that I get to be a part of it is absolutely thrilling."
In his stump speech, O'Rourke complains about gerrymandered voting districts, which he says may contribute to low voter turnout. The state ranks among the lowest in the nation for getting voters to the polls. That's something O'Rourke hopes to change in November, and will be key if he has any chance of claiming victory.