Beto Cites ‘Republican’ Mom Again, Even Though She’s Voted in Democratic Primaries Since 2000

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Presidential candidate Beto O'Rourke again referenced his "Republican" mother at a campaign event in Fort Madison, Iowa, despite the fact that she has voted in Democratic primaries in Texas since 2000.

O'Rourke has been going through the Hawkeye State after announcing his presidential campaign, and while he hasn't developed all the specifics of his platform yet, he has generated a great deal of media attention.

"This campaign that we ran in Texas produced something far greater and more powerful than the sum of people or parts involved. Folks crossed party lines, and I know that personally because my mom, a Republican, voted for us in that election," O'Rourke told voters.

O'Rourke cited his mother's supposedly Republican views during his failed Senate campaign against Sen. Ted Cruz, but CNN reported last year that such a characterization of his mother's politics was misleading.

"I introduce my mom sometimes, and I kid her a little bit, like ‘my mom's a lifelong Republican, but we got her to vote for us in this race.' One day, she came up to me, and she said, ‘You know, that's just not right: I would describe myself as an independent now, not a Republican. Definitely not a Democrat.' I don't know what the size of that universe is, but anecdotally we're meeting a lot of people who have described themselves that way," O'Rourke told BuzzFeed News.

O'Rourke's mother, Melissa, has mostly voted in Democratic primaries since 2000, and she has given money to candidates from both parties. She donated to Cruz and then-presidential candidate Mitt Romney in 2012, but gave to Barack Obama's campaign in 2007.

She told CNN "she has generally been more of a Republican until recent election cycles but has voted for more Democrats regionally," and she voted in Democratic primaries because of that party's dominance in El Paso. She has moved away from the Republican Party because of President Donald Trump's "rhetoric" and his views on immigration.

Jeffrey Cimmino

Jeffrey Cimmino   Email Jeffrey | Full Bio | RSS
Jeff Cimmino is a media analyst at the Washington Free Beacon. He graduated from Georgetown University in 2019. Prior to working at the Free Beacon, he interned at National Review and the Foreign Policy Initiative.

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