In a show of sound discernment, Texas Representative Joaquin Castro has decided not to challenge Senator Ted Cruz in 2018.
Castro cited his “duties in the House Foreign Affairs and Intelligence Committees” as the primary reason for passing on the Senate race, though no one could fault him for not wading in to water that would very likely be over his head. Though the Lone Star State has multiple Democratic representatives in Washington, no Texas Democrat has won a statewide election in more than two decades.
The fact that another House member – Rep. Beto O’Rourke – has already declared for the race probably made Castro’s decision much easier.
Though a recent poll showed Cruz and O’Rourke in a virtual tie, more than one-third of respondents indicated they hadn’t yet even thought about the contest. Given that the same poll found a 53% approval rate for Governor Greg Abbott – who recently endorsed Cruz for re-election – support for Cruz is likely to be considerably higher than reported.
The Texas Lyceum poll is also known to “portray a less conservative state than most political polls do”, according to a recent Austin American Statesman story.
Also from that story:
“While this early result may feel like good news for Texas Democrats,” the pollsters write, “among those who say that they haven’t thought about the race yet, only 19 percent identify themselves as liberal, compared to 33 percent who identify as conservative, and 36 percent who identify as moderate.”
Meaning any candidate with a serious shot at defeating Cruz would have to come at him from the right, not the left – a tall order even for a Republican, much less a Democrat.