With a little over 50 days until Texas voters cast ballots, incumbent Sen. Ted Cruz (R) and his supporters are doing everything they can to quiet the buzz around suddenly surging Democratic challenger Rep. Beto O’Rourke.
In recent days, the Texas GOP pulled out a photo of a punk-rocking O’Rourke wearing what may very well be a dress, Cruz’s campaign released a potty-mouthed video of O’Rourke spewing a certain four-letter word on the campaign trail. And a photo of O’Rourke’s DUI arrest has been making the rounds, even though it is two decades old.
And on Wednesday, the senator’s campaign was apparently unwilling to let the Democrat have airtime on a national late-night TV show without some Ted Cruz counterpoint.
As the Houston Chronicle originally reported, the Cruz campaign bought TV ad time on CBS during Wednesday’s airing of “The Late Show With Stephen Colbert,” which featured O’Rourke. That meant viewers in Amarillo, San Antonio, Waco and El Paso who tuned in to see O’Rourke also got to see Cruz’s face.
The ad buy was not lost on Colbert, who spent four minutes of airtime taunting Cruz about it.
“Beto is running in Texas against incumbent senator and man-whose-campaign-staff-is-definitely-watching-this-show-right-now, Ted Cruz, because it is close, which is scaring the Republicans,” Colbert told his audience. “Here’s how scared Ted Cruz is of Beto O’Rourke. He bought ads on my show tonight to counter his interview.”
On the show, O’Rourke touched on some of negative advertisements, including the punk rock pictures.
“For the better part of two years, we wrote songs, put out our own records, toured the country and it was the most amazing experience of my then young life,” he said. “Four guys living in a Plymouth Satellite.”
But he also touched on policy issues, telling Colbert that he lived in a border city, El Paso, that has a low crime rate, hometown evidence that President Trump’s arguments linking immigration to violent crime are flawed.
“We don’t need a wall,” he told Colbert.
He also said he wasn’t daunted that Trump would be joining forces with Cruz to try to help the incumbent win the Senate race.
Earlier, Colbert had scathing words about that, too.
“You know it’s bad when you need backup from a man with a 36 percent approval rating,” he said. “Their backup plan to that is a celebrity endorsement from the herpes virus.”