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Beto O'Rourke, Ted Cruz And What The Texas Senate Race Means For The Country47:08
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Republican U.S. Senator Ted Cruz, left, and Democratic U.S. Representative Beto O'Rourke, right, shake hands following their first debate for the Texas U.S. Senate in Dallas, Friday, Sept. 21, 2018. (Nathan Hunsinger/The Dallas Morning News via AP, Pool)MoreCloseclosemore
Republican U.S. Senator Ted Cruz, left, and Democratic U.S. Representative Beto O'Rourke, right, shake hands following their first debate for the Texas U.S. Senate in Dallas, Friday, Sept. 21, 2018. (Nathan Hunsinger/The Dallas Morning News via AP, Pool)

With Meghna Chakrabarti

The Texas Senate race. Democrat Beto O’Rourke may be within striking distance of Republican Sen. Ted Cruz. We’ll talk to Texans and Texas watchers about what the race means for the state and the country.

Guests

Ashley Lopez, senior reporter for KUT. (@AshLopezRadio)

Abby Livingston, Washington bureau chief for the Texas Tribune. (@TexasTribAbby)

Brandon Rottinghaus, political science professor at the University of Houston. Co-host of Houston Public Media's political podcast "Party Politics."Author of "Inside Texas Politics: Power, Policy, and Personality of the Lone Star State." (@bjrottinghaus)

From The Reading List

KUT: "Beto O'Rourke Is Talking About Racial Injustice. Black Voters Are Listening." — "Congressman Beto O’Rourke, the El Paso Democrat hoping to oust Sen. Ted Cruz in November, is not shying away from talking about race. And black voters are noticing.

"According to a Quinnipiac University poll released last month, 97 percent of black voters surveyed said they favor O’Rourke.

"'We don’t expect anything to be 97 percent in almost any category,' said Jim Henson, director of the Texas Politics Project at UT Austin."

Vox: "Ted Cruz’s surprisingly competitive battle against Beto O’Rourke, explained" — "Is Ted Cruz at serious risk of losing his Senate race?

"That question is beginning to spook the Republican Party, as more worry the hype around Democratic Rep. Beto O’Rourke’s bid to unseat the sitting Republican in deep-red Texas might translate to something real.

"Over the weekend, White House Office of Management and Budget Director Mick Mulvaney told Republican donors that Cruz’s unpopularity could put the Senate at risk, the New York Times reported."

FiveThirtyEight: "Election Update: Why Our Model Thinks Beto O’Rourke Really Has A Chance In Texas" — "When building a statistical model, you ideally want to find yourself surprised by the data some of the time — just not too often. If you never come up with a result that surprises you, it generally means that you didn’t spend a lot of time actually looking at the data; instead, you just imparted your assumptions onto your analysis and engaged in a fancy form of confirmation bias. If you’re constantly surprised, on the other hand, more often than not that means your model is buggy or you don’t know the field well enough; a lot of the 'surprises' are really just mistakes.

"So when I build election forecasts for FiveThirtyEight, I’m usually not surprised by the outcomes they spit out — unless they’re so surprising (a Republican winning Washington, D.C.?) that they reflect a coding error I need to fix. But there are exceptions, and one of them came in the U.S. Senate race in Texas between Republican incumbent Ted Cruz and Democratic U.S. Rep. Beto O’Rourke. I was pretty sure that once we introduced non-polling factors into the model — what we call the “fundamentals” — they’d shift our forecast toward Cruz, just as they did for Marsha Blackburn, the Republican candidate in Tennessee. That’s not what happened, however. Instead, although Cruz is narrowly ahead in the polls right now, the fundamentals slightly helped O’Rourke. Our model thinks that Texas 'should' be a competitive race and believes the close polling there is no fluke."

Politico: "‘I am ashamed’: Beto apologizes for ‘demeaning comments about women’" — "Texas Senate candidate Beto O’Rourke is apologizing for once criticizing a Broadway musical with actresses 'whose only qualifications seem to be their phenomenally large breasts and tight buttocks.'

"In 1991, the 19-year-old O’Rourke reviewed the Broadway musical 'The Will Rogers Follies' for the Columbia Daily Spectator, the university’s student newspaper. Writing under the byline Robert O’Rourke, he panned the performance as 'one of the most glaring examples of the sickening excesses and moral degradations of our culture.' "

This program aired on October 3, 2018.

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