Cruz strate­gist: Beto should seek No. 1 job

‘Hot hand’ would help O’Rourke in pres­i­den­tial run

San Antonio Express-News - - METRO - By Jeremy Wal­lace

The Repub­li­can strate­gist who en­gi­neered the de­feat of Demo­crat Beto O’Rourke last month is con­vinced that the El Paso con­gress­man should run for pres­i­dent.

Jeff Roe, U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz’s chief strate­gist, told a con­fer­ence of po­lit­i­cal con­sul­tants in Austin that O’Rourke has a “hot hand” and should strike while he has it.

“You don’t get that very of­ten,” Roe told the Amer­i­can As­so­ci­a­tion of Po­lit­i­cal Con­sul­tants au­di­ence. “If you have a hot hand, take it.”

Roe, who also worked on Cruz’s 2016 pres­i­den­tial cam­paign, said that if Democrats are look­ing for a charis­matic stan­dard-bearer, O’Rourke has “buck­ets full of it.”

“He would win Iowa,” Roe said of the state’s cau­cus, the first pres­i­den­tial pri­mary con­test in 2020.

O’Rourke de­clared late in his U.S. Se­nate cam­paign that he would not run for pres­i­dent in 2020 no mat­ter whether he won or lost the Se­nate race. But late last month at an El Paso town hall meet­ing with con­stituents, O’Rourke ap­peared to change that po­si­tion. Asked if he will run for pres­i­dent, O’Rourke didn’t say no or yes. In­stead, he said he would sit down with his wife, Amy, to talk about what they should do next.

The Wash­ing­ton Post re­ported that O’Rourke re­cently met with for­mer Pres­i­dent Barack Obama. And Obama has praised O’Rourke in a pod­cast called “The Axe Files” that is hosted by his for­mer strate­gist, David Axelrod.

“What I liked most about his race was that it didn’t feel con­stantly poll-tested,” Obama said of O’Rourke’s cam­paign. “It felt as if he based his state­ments and his po­si­tions on what he be­lieved. And that, you’d like to think, is nor­mally how things work. Sadly, it’s not.”

Roe said that be­hind the scenes, the U.S. Se­nate cam­paign went through big mo­men­tum swings. In early Septem­ber, he said his side’s polling showed Cruz with just a 2-point lead. But later that month, the mar­gin grew to 12 points. Then as early vot­ing started, the num­bers be­gan to close again. Cruz won by less than 3 per­cent­age points.

Roe said that early on in the cam­paign he could tell that O’Rourke was go­ing to be a se­ri­ous chal­lenge be­cause he seemed care­free and less cau­tious and had an out­sider ap­peal.


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