AUSTIN (CBSDFW.COM) – With five weeks until Election Day and less than three weeks to go before early voting begins, the candidates in the close U.S. Senate race continue their push through Texas.
At Austin Community College Tuesday morning, Democrat Beto O’Rourke kicked off a 12-stop tour of college campuses across Texas, including those in North Texas.
O’Rourke is appealing to new voters, including college students, as part of his effort to unseat Republican Ted Cruz.
O’Rourke is also trying to expand his support.
During his rally before hundreds of supporters of all ages — not just students — he said, “This election is not about Democrats. If you’re Republican and you’re here, you’re in the right place. If you’re a Democrat and here, you’re in the right place. Independents, you’re in the right place.”
But while courting votes of Republicans and Independents, he also advocated progressive positions.
He railed against President Donald Trump’s proposed wall along the Texas-Mexico border, criticized tax cuts for corporations, supported universal health care and called for an end to the war on drugs, which he called a war on people.
O’Rourke’s campaign is trying to excite the Democrat base and boost turnout among African-Americans, Latinos and young voters.
Historically, Democrat turnout is not as high as Republican turnout during the mid-terms, but Democrats say this year will be different because their strong dislike for President Trump has energized many in their base.
Sydney Schwartz, an Austin Community College student and O’Rourke supporter vowed she will vote. “Oh of course. My mom always told me that’s your civic duty and if you want your voice to be heard, that’s the way you do it.”
Her fellow student and O’Rourke supporter Grant Loveless said, “I see it as my duty to go out and vote for my people and the communities I serve.”
As for Ted Cruz, he will make two appearances Wednesday afternoon with the president’s son, Donald Trump Jr. The first will be in Wichita Falls in the afternoon then in Conroe near Houston in the evening.
On Thursday afternoon, Cruz will bring his campaign to Plano.
The Real Clear Politics average of polls between August and September shows Cruz leading O’Rourke by less than five points.