WICHITA FALLS (KFDX/KJTL) — Early voting ahead of the November 2022 Midterm Elections kicks off on Monday, October 24, 2022, and candidates are making their final pushes to campaign before voters head to the polls.
In Wichita Falls, Texas gubernatorial candidate, Democrat Robert Francis “Beto” O’Rourke visited the Clark Student Center on the campus of Midwestern State University on Thursday, October 20, 2022, to host a “Get Out the Vote” rally.
Thursday afternoon marks the fourth time in about one year that O’Rourke has visited Wichita Falls or the surrounding area to campaign for the midterm elections in November 2022.
Historically, Wichita County has voted overwhelmingly in favor of Republican candidates. In 2018, when O’Rourke faced off against Senator Ted Cruz in the midterm elections, he earned only 29% of the votes in the county.
Wichita Falls also happens to be the birthplace of his opponent, incumbent Texas Governor Greg Abbott.
That hasn’t kept O’Rourke from campaigning heavily in the Wichita Falls area, something isn’t shy about admitting.
“We have visited Wichita Falls more times than Greg Abbott has over the course of this election because this community is so important to us,” O’Rourke said. “And, unlike the governor, we’re not going to take the folks here for granted. We’re showing up to fight for every single person here.”
O’Rourke touched on his campaign platform, with many talking points garnering rounds of applause from a standing-room-only meeting room inside Clark Student Center on MSU’s campus.
While O’Rourke did present an argument as to why college students should vote for him, the underlying message of the event was for students to get out and vote once early voting begins on Monday, October 24, 2022.
“We are not so much a red state, and I don’t buy for a second that we’re a blue state, and I don’t know whether we’re the color purple,” O’Rourke said. “I think we’re best described as being a non-voting state in this moment.”
According to O’Rourke, nearly 7 million Texans did not cast a ballot in the 2020 Presidential election between Donald J. Trump and President Joe Biden, an election O’Rourke argued may be “the most important presidential election of our lifetimes”.
The big idea, as the rally’s name suggests, is to get out and vote.
Cristin Martin, President of MSU’s Democratic Student Organization, agreed with O’Rourke’s sentiments, saying ballots cast by young adults can change the tide of an election.
“Four years ago, in 2018 in the midterm election, we saw that young voter turnout in Texas was up over 500%,” Martin said. “And that made the difference in very consequential elections all around the state.”
Martin said regardless of which party the ballot is cast for, the important thing is for people her age, young adults, and students to get to their county’s polling locations when they open on Monday for early voting.
“Young people should vote in every election, for every candidate, all the way up and down the ballot,” Martin said.
Showing up to vote is the way to make your voice heard. Whether that vote is for a Democrat or a Republican, or someone who falls somewhere in between, what matters is that a ballot is cast at all.
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