The Texas Tribune reported recently how Beto O’Rourke and Ted Cruz are fighting for victory in what it called the nation’s “largest conservative county.”
Tarrant County fits the bill as a conservative bastion, according to the Tribune.
Thus, the county’s newspaper of record — the Fort Worth Star-Telegram — usually backs conservative candidates for public office. Not this year in the race for the U.S. Senate seat that the Republican Cruz now occupies.
Here’s a snippet of what the Star-Telegram wrote in endorsing O’Rourke, the Democratic challenger.
“Only O’Rourke seems interested in making deals or finding middle ground. That is why the El Paso Democrat would make the best senator for Tarrant County’s future, and the future of Texas. This Editorial Board has recommended conservative Republicans such as George W. Bush and Mitt Romney for president, along with U.S. Sens. John Cornyn and Kay Bailey Hutchison. But Cruz does not measure up. This office needs a reset. The Star-Telegram Editorial Board endorses Beto O’Rourke.”
O’Rourke also has earned the editorial board endorsements from the San Antonio Express-News, the Dallas Morning News, the Houston Chronicle and (not surprising in the least) the hometown El Paso Times.
It’s certainly fair to ask: Will these endorsements matter? I am not sure that endorsements from newspapers prove decisive. Texans are like most newspaper readers. They make up their minds on a whole host of factors: personal bias, philosophy, traditional family political history.
Still, I believe it’s instructive that the Star-Telegram, which purports to speak for the “largest conservative county” in America has decided that a self-described TEA Party conservative, Cruz, no longer earns its blessing.