Two of Texas’ biggest Democratic stars will take the debate stage Thursday in their home state, but they’ll be far from the center of attention. Literally.
Beto O’Rourke, the former El Paso congressman, and Julián Castro, the former mayor of San Antonio, will stand side by side in Houston on the far endof the debate stage,a reflectionof their low standingin presidential polls.
Story Continued Below
It’s a bit of a muted homecoming for the state’s prized Democratic prospects, both of whom entered the primary accompanied by high expectations but have since failed to build momentum.
“I really like the guys. I mean, they’re terrific,” said Mike Collier, a Democrat who ran unsuccessfully for lieutenant governor in Texas in 2018 and endorsed former Vice President Joe Biden on Tuesday. “But the presidency is the most important job in the world, and there are an awful lot of Texans who view it the way I view it, which is that we want somebody who’s a seasoned hand.”
O’Rourke, who eclipsed Castro last year during his near-miss Senate run against Republican Ted Cruz, has had the more humbling experience. He entered the race in March amid much fanfare only to see his campaign fade. Castro, the only Latino candidate in the sprawling field, is still struggling to break out of the low single digits in polls.
Both find themselves in essentially the same position in the debate: high enough in polling and fundraising to qualify for the debates,but in desperate need of a breakout moment.