Congressman Beto O'Rourke, El Paso Democrat, has just said he plans a big announcement on Friday. The cat's not being further let out of the bag, but it's widely believed he'll have a formal campaign launch. He's indicated his interest in the seat, and you don't puff an official non-campaign like this.
He's got some good bona fides — favors marijuana legalization, opposes much of the War on Drugs. He's also, as of Tuesday, House co-sponsor of the "No PAC Act," designed to bar Congresscritters from taking PAC money. Overall, he'd at least be left of the center of today's Democratic Party, per On the Issues. And, he was a good enough campaigner to topple Silvestre Reyes.
On the other hand — and to riff on Idries Shah, we normally need more than two hands, because there are more than two sides or views — per this graphic, O'Rourke has yet to become a co-sponsor of John Conyers' HB676 Medicare for All bill. The Berniecrat type folks at the Down With Tyranny blog (one of the trio is a spinoff from a Digby blogging assistant) would puff Beto's work on the No PAC Act while not noting he's failed to co-sponsor HB676.
Matthew Dowd, former Shrub Bush strategerist [sic — think about it], has indicated some interest in an independent run, and specifically as an independent, calling the two so-called major parties "dinosaurs." But he still seems to be in the mulling stage and not beyond.
Per what I just said on Twitter, he probably needs to officially shit or get off the pot soon. It takes a lot of money for a Senate campaign in Texas. True, Dowd won't have spend money on a primary, but, that's less costly than the general. That's especially true, if per the first of the two links about him, Dowd is serious about a "bottom-up" campaign. Beyond and before teevee, that's a lot of gasoline driving around the small towns of The Great (and great big) State of Texas.
Also, as far as that bottom-up? Dowd's not really associated with Texas these days. That may hurt, too. And, per this piece, he's got a lot to answer for that is BushCo related, like why did he wait until 2008 to hop off the GOP train? And, was that in part to land a juicy media job?
Frankly, his earlier hop from Dem to GOP in 1999, combined with this, has a heady whiff, or stench, of positions-lite political opportunism. How much that will hurt him in the general public's eyes, I dn't know, but personally, I'd trust him even less than the average politician.
And, O'Rourke's road trip to DC with GOP Congresscritter Will Hurd may give him some small leg up over Dowd among those independent voters.
Especially if Dowd takes a quick campaign announcement crap, that means others need to drop their drawers or get out of the race soon.
No. 1 would be Joaquin Castro. Per the Stateless, he promises to shit or get off the pot before the end of April. However, he also has baggage for us true liberals, left-liberals and beyond — he also hasn't become a co-sponsor of Conyers' bill.
No. 2 would be Michael McCaul or any other would-be GOP challengers to Rafael Edward Cruz. And I think I may start calling him that more, just like the Lite Gov of Texas is often identified in these pages as Danny Goeb.
(Sidebar: Per Rafael's Wiki page, take note that his first government political appointment job of this wingnut states'-righter, was a federal one, and was in the administration of Slick Willie. Just saying. Also note that the parents of this godly Dominionist Christian, including his godly Dominionist Christian father, divorced in 1997.)
Brains has a very good additional take, from which I've updated mine; also take a look at Charles Kuffner. Somewhat per the two of them, and definitely my take, Dowd might enjoy being a Mario Cuomo Hamlet character more than actually running.
That said, I'll slightly digress from Brains on one issue.
I think Dems DO need a contested primary. First, speaking of shitting or getting off the pot, one or the other of O'Rourke and Castro would almost certainly have to come out for single-payer to distinguish himself from the other.
Second, though I'm not a Dem, thinking in Dem mindset, a contested primary might boost interest, and thus turnout in the general election. As Kuff points out, and as we regular followers of Texas politics know, Democratic turnout in midterm elections sucks donkey dongs — obvious political pun quite intended.
I expand my call for a contested primary here.