Austin American-Statesman - - MONEY & MARKETS - Con­tact Jonathan Tilove at 512-445-3572.

has promised a de­ci­sion by the end of April.

“It’s no se­cret that Joaquín is heav­ily weigh­ing a Se­nate run, and he will con­tinue to have those dis­cus­sions with his fam­ily, friends and sup­port­ers across Texas,” Cas­tro’s po­lit­i­cal di­rec­tor, Matthew Jones, said in a state- ment Wed­nes­day. “He plans to make his de­ci­sion in the com­ing weeks.”

Cas­tro would have ad­van­tages over O’Rourke in a pri­mary. He is bet­ter-known and has a larger net­work of sup­port­ers. But he has been con­sid­ered a far less cer­tain can­di­date. Both O’Ro- urke, 44, and Cas­tro, 42, are in their third terms in the House. O’Rourke has prom- ised not to serve more than four terms while Cas­tro has a po­ten­tially longer, brighter fu­ture there. He serves on the House In­tel­li­gence Com­mit­tee, which is in­ves­ti­gat­ing po­ten­tial Rus­sia ties to the Trump cam­paign and Trump ad­min­is­tra­tion.

O’Rourke, lit­tle known out­side his dis­trict, would be a long shot in a state that re­mains re­li­ably Repub­li­can. But the Trump pres­i­dency adds an el­e­ment of un­cer- tainty to po­lit­i­cal cal­cu­la­tions ev­ery­where in 2018, and O’Ro- urke’s re­cent bi­par­ti­san road trip with U.S. Rep. Will Hurd, R-Helotes, demon­strated a tal­ent for win­ning pos­i­tive no­tice and us­ing so­cial me­dia to en­gage a large au­di­ence.

O’Rourke — a flu­ent Span­ish speaker who lives on the bor­der and says that it is the safest and best place to be — would of­fer a stark con­trast to the pol­i­tics of Cruz and Trump.

O’Rourke would be ex­pected to make any an­nounce­ment in his home­town, at the far western edge of Texas. No one from El Paso has ever been elected to statewide of­fice in Texas.

ABC News po­lit­i­cal an­a­lyst Matthew Dowd, who works in Austin and lives in Wim­ber­ley, is con­sid­er­ing an in­de­pen­dent can­di­dacy for the Cruz seat, which he be­lieves is the only way Cruz can be beaten.

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