The new ad is a nod to O’Rourke’s year-plus road trip across the Lone Star state
With just one day until the 2018 election, Beto O’Rourke has debuted a new ad featuring Texas’ elder statesman, Willie Nelson. The country legend headlined a free concert for the Senate hopeful in September that drew an estimated 55,000 people to Austin’s Auditorium Shores, where certified voter registrars were sprinkled throughout the crowd and local candidates and politicians were given stage time between acts like Leon Bridges and Carrie Rodriguez.
The new ad repurposes footage from the concert, where Nelson invited O’Rourke up on stage to sing Nelson’s hit “On the Road Again” together, a reference to the 20 months O’Rourke has spent driving to each of the state’s 254 counties.
“There is something special happening in Texas right now,” O’Rourke says in the ad. “In really small towns, in really big cities, people are getting off the sidelines and into the game. We are meeting the divisiveness that dominates our politics today with a courage, a strength, a big heart that could only come from Texas.”
Polls have tightened in the race’s final days, with at least one survey showing O’Rourke and incumbent Sen. Ted Cruz tied with 49 percent of the vote. Almost 4.9 million Texans voted early this year, surpassing the number that voted early in the 2012 presidential election and doubling, in many counties, turnout in the last midterm election.
Nelson experienced some backlash for throwing his support behind O’Rourke, but he’s stood by the candidate.
“People will sometimes get upset because I’ve got a vote, too,” Nelson told Rolling Stone shortly after he endorsed O’Rourke, adding the bromide: “Opinions are like assholes, everybody’s got one.”
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