Democratic Rep. Beto O’Rourke of Texas has portrayed his mother as a lifelong Republican while running for Senate against Republican Sen. Ted Cruz, but according to her voting record, she more often supports Democrats.
While on the campaign trail, O’Rourke frequently touts Melissa O’Rourke’s Republican party affiliation, whether in speeches or interviews. However, according to a CNN report released Tuesday, Melissa has predominately voted in Democratic primaries since 2000, and has donated consistently to both Republicans and Democrats.
“I introduce my mom sometimes,” O’Rourke told Buzzfeed in August. “I kid her a little bit, like ‘my mom’s a lifelong Republican, but we got her to vote for us in this race.”
Melissa has voted in 15 of the previous 17 Democratic primary elections, which include Democratic primaries in 2000, 2008, 2012 and 2016. Conversely, she has voted in only two Republican primaries — the 2006 and 2010 midterm elections. Texas is an open primary state, which means a voter does not have to formally affiliate with a political party in order to vote in the primary election.
While Melissa “confirmed” to CNN that she has always voted for a Republican during a presidential election prior to 2016, she also admitted that she could not remember if she voted for former President Barack Obama in 2008. She did, however, donate to Obama’s campaign.
Melissa previously donated to Cruz in 2012. (RELATED: Record Fundraising Hasn’t Been Enough To Push Beto Over Cruz)
The move seems to be strategic, since O’Rourke needs to win over a large portion of Cruz’s Republican base in order to be competitive in the red state.
“I am the son a Republican mother, whom we have convinced to vote for me in this election,” O’Rourke said on Saturday as he again pitched for Republicans to come out and vote in his favor. “You may have a Republican mom that hasn’t voted in 22 years because she just didn’t think that it mattered any more … we’ve gotta transcend that.”
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