O’Rourke Riles Local Dem After Refusing To Distance Himself From Hurd

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U.S. Rep. Beto O'Rourke (D-El Paso), hosts a meet-and-greet campaign event with San Antonio community members at Paper Tiger.

Scott Ball / Rivard Report

U.S. Rep. Beto O'Rourke (D-El Paso), hosts a meet-and-greet campaign event with San Antonio community members at Paper Tiger.

U.S. Senate hopeful Beto O’Rourke experienced the limits of bipartisanship at a San Antonio campaign event Monday night when a local precinct chairman challenged him to “take a stand with your fellow Democrats” and distance himself from U.S. Rep. Will Hurd (R-San Antonio) – and then stormed off when O’Rourke refused.

James Kane, Democratic chairman of Bexar County Precinct 1046 on the city’s southwest side, said Hurd votes overwhelmingly in support of President Donald Trump’s legislative agenda. He then asked the Democratic congressman from El Paso to publicly distance himself from Hurd.

O’Rourke refused, saying, “[Hurd is] a good friend of mine, a good legislative partner. If I spend the next 12 months working against the guy, he’s not going to trust me enough to be able to work with me to get things done.”

“You don’t have our support,” Kane responded.

“I gotcha. I gotcha. That may be the price of bipartisanship,” O’Rourke answered.

Kane interrupted. “No. It’s not bipartisanship. … You’re backstabbing us.”

“Gotcha,” O’Rourke responded, adding, “Anyone who thinks these are screened affairs, knows that they’re not,” prompting laughter. “But I do appreciate the fact that you’re here.”

After the event, Kane, a disabled veteran, told the Rivard Report he would support O’Rourke in the general election only if he endorsed other Democrats on the ballot, mainly the one who faces Hurd in Texas Congressional District 23.

Kane said Democratic voters will judge O’Rourke if he keeps refusing to question Hurd on his votes or lack of criticism of President Trump.

“Democrats need to stand up with Democrats,” Kane added.

O’Rourke and Hurd became an unexpected online hit earlier this year when they embarked on an impromptu “bipartisan road trip,” driving from Texas to Washington, D.C., after bad weather cancelled their flights.

O’Rourke got a more favorable response from others in the crowd, including Hartmut Lau, who complimented former President George W. Bush and other elected leaders — especially Republicans — who openly address divisive, intolerant attitudes shared by many of their more conservative associates in political discourse.

“I really would strongly ask that you beat them up on that subject every opportunity because there are more decent people around than those who would subscribe to ‘casual cruelty‘ against people who can’t fight back,” Lau added.

O’Rourke agreed, saying no presidential administration or party in power should see itself as above criticism or reproach.

He praised U.S. Sens. Jeff Flake (R-Arizona), John McCain (R-Arizona), and Bob Corker, (R-Tennessee), as well as Texas House Speaker Joe Straus, all for their willingness to be bipartisan on federal or Texas issues. Straus (R-San Antonio) last week announced he would not seek re-election in 2018.

O’Rourke told the Rivard Report he’s worried that Straus’ pending retirement could mean fewer moderates in the next state legislature.

“He’s been a voice of moderation,” O’Rourke said, citing Straus’ work on such controversial issues as the so-called bathroom bill. “There are things that Speaker Straus and I have disagreed on, but he brought such a decency to that job.

“I’m just grateful to his service. He’s the kind of elected leader we need more of.”

The projected race between O’Rourke and Republican U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz is shaping up to be one of the most-watched contests in the November 2018 elections. A crowd of about 100 supporters attended the campaign meet-and-greet at Paper Tiger on the St. Mary’s Strip.

Political observers were surprised earlier this year when O’Rourke raised more money than Cruz, a first-term incumbent, in the second quarter of campaign finance reporting.

According to the Texas Tribune, Cruz reported having $6.38 million cash on hand in campaign finance reports earlier this month, compared with O’Rourke’s $2.8 million. But the three-term congressman has pledged not to accept contributions from political action committees or special/corporate interests.

That promise – and his homespun, unorthodox approach – have endeared him to many progressive Democrats.

During the outdoors event, O’Rourke expressed concern about the fate of “dreamers” – the some 800,000 undocumented immigrants whose permits to remain in the country may expire in about four months unless Congress passes the DREAM Act.

O’Rourke predicted that if a vote were to be held tomorrow, the DREAM Act would pass due to bipartisan support in Congress.

He urged the attendees to take to the polls to express their views on such issues as the DREAM Act, noting that public pressure has been demonstrated repeatedly with the Senate’s failure to repeal Obamacare.

O’Rourke also chided efforts to curb women’s rights on reproductive health care. Noting that while Texas leads the the country in the rate of maternal mortality, state and federal governments are making it “harder for women to access life-saving medical care and make their own decisions about their own bodies,” he said.

He also took issue with how two plain-clothed Immigration and Customs Enforcement officers arrested an undocumented transgender woman in an El Paso courtroom, as she sought protection against her abusive boyfriend. Such incidents, O’Rourke said, spark even more fear among immigrants.

“If you’re concerned about what’s going on in the country, you know that this moment, right now, this election in 2018, could not be more urgent, critical or necessary,” he added.

24 thoughts on “O’Rourke Riles Local Dem After Refusing To Distance Himself From Hurd

  1. Representative Beto O’Rourke has chosen the high road. He is an honorable statesman and understands that rhetoric and vitriol are self perpetuating. O’Rourke should be applauded.

  2. I say yea for O’Rouke. This is what we need in our country–to work together for compromise. Stop this divisivenesss. Nothing will get done. O’Rouke has my vote and I am a long time Rebublican.

  3. Good for O’Rourk. We need more politicians willing to collaborate, across party lines, to get legislation passed. So tired of bickering and lack of results.

    • When O’Rourk supports Hurd, it means he supports Hurds voting record. Hurd votes against DREAMERS and voted for the wall. He notoriously says one thing and votes another. Maybe you should reconsider your political leanings as a Democrat.

  4. Sad to say, O’Rourke is just another corporate Democrat, bound to lose because they are PAID to lose. He is speaking fealty to progressive ideals, but already proving himself false to the core principles. Hurd is atrocious, and anyone calling him a “partner” is hitching to the wrong wagon.

    • O’Rourke won his current seat in the House by defeating a long-term corporatist incumbent who decried O’Rourke’s proposal to combat cartel violence along the border be legalizing marijuana. Former Congressman Reyes decried such thinking as being bad for El Paso because of all the money El Paso would lose, but declined to identify just what funds he was claiming would be lost if marijuana was decriminalized. O’Rourke has solid progressive credentials and has served El Paso well. Blind partisanship helps no one but blind partisans.

      • Robert O’Rourke’s support of the displacement of Duranguito residents and the demolition of El Paso’s oldest neighborhood to make way for a taxpayer funded arena for minor league basketball leaves a poor impression with me.

        Robert O’Rourke’s support for the decriminalization of pot, like much of the rest of his legislative agenda, went nowhere. As a councilman he did little more than tow the corporate line, supporting business interests to the detriment of equity or the well being of his constituents.

        He runs, and wins, on charm and the folksy appropriation of Chicano culture. In the end, he’s a millionaire techy from a political family with an overload of charm and little legislative success.

  5. A big problem in our society is people wanting others to blindly believe as they believe and to never reason and question. I can tell you as a long-time Democrat, there are some bad politicians in the Democratic party. I can tell you that there are some bad policemen in the SAPD. There are some bad Christians going to church every Sunday. It is silly for anyone to quit thinking and reasoning and even sillier to ask someone else to quit thinking and reasoning. Judge each person individually and do not give a blanket endorsement of support for everyone within ANY organization!! We need to start thinking and reasoning again in America.

      • Kane is just holding Beto accountable. What is so wrong with that? What’s with the worshipping? EVERYONE needs to be held accountable, even Beto.

  6. Totally agree with all the positive sentiments on the Leadership that O’Rourke exhibits. I will definitely support him and all candidates that subscribe to common sense in trying to get things done. Partisanship for the sake of staying on one side of the line will not help make things better.

  7. I am a Democrat. Kane is dead nuts wrong. Without smart, bipartisan cooperation this country is headed into dark times. Beto has my vote. With party operatives like Kane dividing the party we are sure to see Cruz elected again – disaster!

    • I am a Republican by birth and in my adult life, and I applaud Beto’s constructive conversations with everyone- Democrat, Republican, Independent- in trying to overcome the tribalism that is growing in American politics. Kane is pro-actively supporting the re-election of Ted Cruz, one of the most hateful, angry, self-righteous politicans who is an embarrassment to Texas and Texans. He should switch party affiliation. I will support Beto’s candidacy. All of us need to. Do we really want to return Ted Cruz? Everyone in the Senate dislikes him, including his fellow Republicans.

  8. I believe he should be attacking any and all Republicans who are not standing up against Trump and his ridiculous, disgraceful, dangerous and embarrassing behavior. Republicans who do not speak up against Trump are cowards and should be pointed out as such. If O’Rourke is a Democrat he should start behaving as one.

  9. I’m a Disabled Veteran and a Republican! But I support Beto O’Rourke in his bipartisan cooperation commitment. Mr. Kane is absolutely wrong in his approach. We must cooperate for the good of America. Anything less Could be disastrous!

  10. James Kane typifies the thinking that has resulted in ZERO Democrats holding statewide office in Texas for decades. Without bipartisan support for Democrat candidates that trend will continue.
    I am 100% behind Beto.

  11. Refusing to even consider working across the aisle is what got us to this point in the first place. Beto has proven himself as a strong, progressive Democrat but one who knows how to compromise when necessary, a skill far too few people of either party are willing to use these days.

  12. I encourage anyone who agrees with James Kane to read Al Franken’s Giant of the Senate and It’s Even Worse Than it Looks, by Thomas Mann and Norman Ornstein. They explain why working relationships in Congress are so important in passing good legislation.

    These guys can disagree, but at the end of the day, they have to work together to get things done. They are colleagues, not opponents. When I go into a meeting and my colleagues disagree with my ideas, we work together to settle them, we don’t go to war with each other. That’s not good for anyone and I’m glad Beto isn’t going to cave to optics. He can stand up to Hurd in office without being an ass and declaring Hurd an enemy. That’s how adults work together.

  13. If we become the mirror image of Republicans, refusing to even talk to the “other side,” we are no better than they. In politics, you don’t always get what you want. But if you aren’t willing to talk, and make some trade offs, you likely won’t get anything you want.

    • I too applaud Beto O’Rourke. It is very difficult to run a campaign and win much less to take on all the other candidates and their campaigns. Let’s help Beto O’Rourke put Texas Democrats back on the winning side. Let’s refuse to allow petty issues to ruin Beto’s good reputation. Washington is a mess due to lack of teamwork which does not result in the “best” decisions for all citizens of Texas and the United States.
      We need a Senator who will not “shut down our government” to cost taxpayers
      TWENTY-THREE BILLION DOLLARS (Thank you Mr. Cruz).

  14. Mr. Kane:

    “Democrats need to stand up with Democrats,” Kane added.

    Walk the walk, and talk the talk. If you are not supporting O’Rourke, you are supporting Cruz. Think about that- supporting a politician universally hated by Dems and Republicans. Not sure if you do, but I have Trump supporters as friends, Bernie supporters, that’s the way the world goes. Tribal epistemology= breaking up into monochromatic tribes of like-minded people, which will inevitably result in the FAILURE OF OUR DEMOCRACY! You are an important person in Democratic circles in a strongly democratic area- be smart. Support a great Texan and American- support Beto O’Rourke!

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