FORT WORTH (CBSDFW.COM) – Round two of the Democratic presidential debates begins Tuesday evening and there will be a major difference for the two Texans in the race: Unlike the first debates in Miami, former El Paso Congressman Beto O’Rourke and former San Antonio Mayor and HUD Secretary Julian Castro won’t go head to head.
O’Rourke will take the stage this evening in Detroit along with two of the top-ranked candidates in the polls: Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders and Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren.READ MORE: Severe Weather Threat For North Texas Tuesday Night, Early Wednesday Morning
South Bend, Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg among others will also compete Tuesday night.
On Wednesday night, Castro takes the stage against other top-ranked candidates including former Vice President Joe Biden and California Senator Kamala Harris.
The pressure is on O’Rourke to do better in this debate than the first one when analysts panned his performance.READ MORE: Some Tenants Say Conditions At Dallas' Highland Hills Apartments Still Unlivable Following Explosion
Nancy Bocskor, Director of the Center for Women In Politics and Public Policy at Texas Woman’s University in Denton said O’Rourke must create a persona for the national audience. “If he just has a dose of humility, just being humble, glad to be up on that stage, creating a vision and not a soundbite, I think that’s really the critical thing.”
The Real Clear Politics Average of national polls between July 21st and 29th shows Biden maintaining his lead with 32%.
Sanders is in second place with 16%, Warren has 14%, while Harris has 11%.
Buttigieg leads the second tier of candidates with 6%, followed by O’Rourke at 3%, then New Jersey Senator Cory Booker and Entreprenuer Andrew Yang with 2%, and Castro and Minnesota Senator Amy Klobuchar at 1%.
Bocskor said for O’Rourke to do well this evening, he must advocate for his policies and positions more concisely than he has before and not get bogged down with storytelling. “You don’t have time for that on the stage. You’ve got to be very clear in this world where we are alllooking at sound bites, but sound bites that have meat. And with him, it’s just a lot of platitudes.”MORE NEWS: Lawlessness Once Reigned On 'Hell's Half Acre' In Downtown Fort Worth
If O’Rourke performs well this evening, that could boost his fundraising and poll numbers.