DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – The stakes keep climbing in the tightening U.S. Senate race in Texas.
On Friday, President Trump announced on Twitter he will come to the Lone Star State in October to hold a rally for Republican Senator Ted Cruz.
His announcement comes as a variety of polls show Democrat Beto O’Rourke, an El Paso Congressman, within five points of the incumbent and amid positive national media attention.
In his tweet, the president said, “I will be doing a major rally for Senator Ted Cruz in October. I’m picking the biggest stadium in Texas we can find. As you know, Ted has my complete and total Endorsement. His opponent is a disaster for Texas – weak on Second Amendment, Crime, Borders, Military and Vets!”
On Friday afternoon, Senator Cruz responded to the President on Twitter.
His tweet read in part, “Terrific! Texas will be glad to see you…”
Dallas County GOP Chair Missy Shorey said, “We are thrilled that the President of the United States will be here in Texas. We think this is a huge win.”
Miguel Solis, a Dallas ISD Trustee who supports O’Rourke said he believes the Cruz campaign is desperate. “There is absolutely no reason that the President of the United States, the leader of the Republican Party should have to come to what we assumed was a safe red state to protect an incumbent Senator in October.”
Shorey disagreed, saying they aren’t taking any votes for granted and won’t make the same mistake Democrats made in 2016. “We respect there’s energy on the left. And we know Texas is a red state. The only way we lose if we don’t turn out, and getting the President here, having that rally is going to be a huge boost of energy and excitement.”
Solis said O’Rourke has run a great campaign and continues to gain popularity. “Beto O’Rourke is onto something.”
SMU Political Science professor Cal Jillson believes the President’s popularity with Republicans should give Cruz a needed boost. “I think it’s a good idea for him to come to Texas in October because this is shaping up to be a close race in a red state. He could make a difference for Ted Cruz in a very close race.”
Jillson says in addition to helping Cruz, President Trump needs the Senate to remain under GOP control.
As a result, he will have a clear message for Republicans. “This is a Republican seat. We hold it. We have it now, we have to hold it. Trump needs Cruz in that Senate seat because the Senate is so close.”
Senator Cruz campaigned in The Colony and Corsicana this past Monday, and he will campaign in McKinney along with Governor Greg Abbott and Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton on Labor Day.
Still no word yet when or if Cruz and O’Rourke will debate.
Earlier this week, O’Rourke said he wouldn’t take part in a debate Cruz proposed for Friday evening in Dallas.
O’Rourke said Cruz wasn’t being flexible, but Cruz said it seemed as if O’Rourke doesn’t want to debate.
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