DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – DeDe Alexander, a Dallas Young Democrat said it’d be a great problem to have: deciding between two Texans in the Presidential primary.
She will get her wish if Former San Antonio Mayor and HUD Secretary Julian Castro and Congressman Beto O’Rourke of El Paso run for the White House.
“I don’t think I can go wrong quite frankly. As a Texan, you’re just really excited. I think for a long time, people have ignored Texas and just assumed Texas is going to do what Texas does,” said Alexander.
Earlier this week, Castro, who worked in President Barack Obama’s administration, said he will be making an announcement January 12 in San Antonio.
In a video he released he said, “I’m exploring a candidacy for President of the United States. If we want to see a change in this country, we don’t wait. We work. We make our future happen.”
On Thursday night, Castro appeared on the Late Show with Stephen Colbert with his twin brother, Congressman Joaquin Castro of San Antonio, who ended any speculation on Julian’s decision. “I’ll speak on his behalf here. He’s going to run for President.”
After the audience applauded, Julian said, “I’m excited, I think it’s going to be a great journey. I think the country needs new leadership.”
Alexander said she likes both men. “It’s just really exciting to have two candidates and a lot of attention on us.”
Both Castro and O’Rourke may run for the White House, without having won statewide.
SMU Political Science Professor Matthew Wilson said that may not matter. “It’s a little unusual, but let’s remember we’ve got a Republican President from New York right now. So it’s certainly happens where people can run against the partisan trends of their own state and still appeal nationally.”
He said the possibility of two Texas Democrats running for President also shows how huge and diverse a state Texas is. “With lots of different kinds of constituencies: A very large Latino population, significant black population, urban population, rural population, these are various constituencies you’d have to speak with to win a presidential bid.”
While former Vice-President Joe Biden and former Presidential candidate and Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders lead early polls, Wilson and Alexander say Democrats may want someone new. “The Democratic party today has become a very identity-politics driven party and that motivates a lot of Democrat activists”, said Wilson.
He said, “So there’s some sentiment in the party, now they need to move away from the older, white man model of presidential candidates. That’s a strike against Biden. That’s a strike against Bernie Sanders.”
If Castro and O’Rourke run for President, Wilson said they will each have to make the case against Biden when they speak with voters. “Why me and not Joe? And some of that can be youth, some of that can be a fresh face, some of that might be ideological, they’ll try to run to his left.”
Alexander agreed. “From the outcome of our most recent midterms, that people are looking for fresher voices. I think that’s who we saw a lot of different type of of candidates win: women, younger people, people of different ethnicities.”
If both Castro and O’Rourke run for President, Wilson said it would be good news for Republicans and specifically Senator John Cornyn who’s running for re-election in 2020 because no other Democrat has emerged so far for that race.
While Alexander said she’d like to see both Castro and O’Rourke run for President, she said some of her friends think it would be a waste of talent and that they prefer that one of them run for U.S. Senate.