Beto O'Rourke, wasn't an American household name before Tuesdays election, but today his name is creating quite a stir in political circles. Beto pulled off a monumental upset of long term Texas Congressman, Silvestre Reyes, in the Democrat primary. He has now won the right to run as the Democrat candidate in this congressional district sitting on the border with Mexico.
El Paso, meaning "gateway to the north" was named by Spanish Conquistadors as they looked for a passage up into California. The city has a rich history dating back hundreds of years with a heavy Spanish influence and had a reputation as a wild border town for years. .
During it's history, El Paso has been the scene of many shootouts, although today that is not a common occurrence. But spent bullets and the sound of frequent gunfire do hit the town from it's sister city just across the Rio Grande, the violent Mexican city of Juarez. Juarez is wracked by battles between rival drug cartels and the Mexican government, all vying for control of the strategically placed town and "gateway" to the rich market of America.
Beto O'Rourke has watched the violence increase across the border as the stakes get higher for the illegal drugs shipped into America. He knows that if those drugs were somehow decriminalized and controlled in America, it would dry up the market and much of the violence would stop. Beto has many other issues that are important to him, including the border and immigration reform,.
An El Paso native and city councilman, Beto was very aware of issues facing his city and wasn't satisfied with how they were being represented in Washington. So he said it was time for change and decided to throw his hat in the ring and challenge 8 term incumbent,Congressman Silvestre Reyes. But Reyes had the money, connections and a well oiled political machine behind him. He also had the backing of President Obama and former President Bill Clinton....So it was a courageous move for the young Beto O'Rourke to step in the ring with Congressman Reyes.
But the courage and determination of Beto O'Rourke didn't go unnoticed by an organization headed by another Irish American named Eric O'Keefe. O'Keefe heads a powerful Political Action Committee called Campaign for Primary Accountability. CPA has pledged to help America shed lifetime politicians who become more beholden to special interests in Washington than their own citizens. Their goal is to help new faces get into Congress. CPA, is non partisan and will jump into any primary race no matter what the party.
Read moreWhere Irish American Eric O'Keefe treads, incumbent politicians trembleSki masks, car bombs and executions, we have troubles on our border
So when Eric O'Keefe took notice of the political situation in this congressional district, he saw that with some help, political upstart Beto O'Rourke might be able to upset the status quo. O'Keefe's organization jumped in with both feet and helped level the political playing field with 240K in funds to counter the incumbents financial firepower.
Eric O'Keefe told me: " CPA communicated directly with voters about some of Reyes behavior that he would rather they overlook,including how his campaign and political connections bring direct financial benefits to his family members; and we also used direct voter contact to tell people that this primary election on May 30 was the only time they would have a real say in who would represent them in Congress. We used social media advertising, email, phones, and even direct
voter contact with door-to-door communication."
O'Keefe went on: "We did all of that completely independently of the O'Rourke campaign. O'Rourke himself ran a solid campaign. But as you know it is really tough going against an incumbent, and Reyes pulled out all the stops, including getting the endorsements of Bill Clinton and BHO."
So when the political gunsmoke cleared in this west Texas town of El Paso, Beto O'Rourke was standing tall as he defeated the seemingly invulnerable incumbent Reyes, by over 2,000 votes. He now sees himself heading for the general election in a heavily Democrat district which will almost assuredly vote him into Congress.
Looks like there will be a new fresh face in Congress, thanks to a new political guardian angel. If Eric O'Keefe and his group of Patriots known as Campaign for Primary Accountability have their way, there will be crops of new faces in Washington DC. I asked him if there was another race he had his eye on and his answer was: "We have not locked onto anyone else yet... we are going state-by-state as we roll through the primary season."
Stay tuned for more upsets as the season rolls on. As Charlie Mahtesian wrote recently in Politico "When Incumbents fall,
you can usually find the Campaign for Primary Accountability’s fingerprints on the race"
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