O’Rourke rallies in the rain throughout North Texas

Governor candidate Beto O’Rourke speaks to a crowd of supporters outside Eastfield on Oct. 24.

MOIRA MCINTEE, Managing Editor

Four blue canopies in front of G building shielded onlookers from a steady rain on Monday as they eagerly awaited governor candidate Beto O’Rourke’s arrival to Eastfield. Even as the covers started to leak and campaign workers handed out ponchos, the crowd was not deterred.

“Beto, Beto, Beto,” they chanted while showing off their campaign T-shirts and signs.

O’Rourke waved at the crowd from his truck as he pulled into a parking spot. Cheers and applause got louder as he approached on foot.

“We want to show the rest of the state what we’re willing to do here in Mesquite today,” O’Rourke said. “We’re braving the elements, we’re braving everything they can throw at us, so that we vote and so that we win.”

O’Rourke’s campaign is making a “Vote with Beto” tour through local polling stations during the early voting period that started Oct. 24 and runs through Nov. 4. His tour made five stops in Dallas and one in Flower Mound today. Tomorrow they will make their way through Tarrant County.

Eastfield was a last-minute addition to O’Rourke’s tour. Voters signed up for his campaign alerts were only made aware of the added stop Monday morning.

Recent polls show Republican Gov. Greg Abbott having a slim lead among registered voters. But many young voters like science major Catherine Vasquez relate more to O’Rourke.

“I didn’t know much about Beto’s campaign,” Vasquez said. “But then he really got on social media, and that’s when I started hearing about everything he wants to do.”

Vasquez is a first-time voter who is excited to cast a vote for O’Rourke. His stance on gun control following the Robb Elementary School shooting in Uvalde helped her decide to support him.

“I’m the oldest sibling so it’s important that I’m signed up to vote and know what to do,” she said. “I want to be able to show them what to do and help them when they’re old enough.”

Vasquez was with her friend, communications major Alyssa Rodriguez, when they made the decision to attend O’Rourke’s rally on campus.

“His campaign team called me personally to tell me about it,” Rodriguez said. “I thought it was just some weird spam call, but I decided to pick it up anyways.”

Rodriguez stopped to vote at the polling station inside of G building before heading outside for the rally.

“I’m here now to support Beto because he’s trying to actually do things that will benefit me and the people in my community,” she said. “He just feels like a breath of fresh air for Texas.”

Despite the short notice, dozens of supporters still showed up to hear him speak.

O’Rourke poses for photos with Eastfield president Eddie Tealer while his supporters wait in line. (RORY MOORE/THE ET CETERA)

“I’m here because I am less than a man right now,” English faculty Kassandra Buck said. “I can’t do anything with my own body without being denied. Our kids are being called out for being who they are. I’m angry about all of the changes that the current administration is making, and we need to just vote the right way and get our voices back.”

O’Rourke spoke to the crowd about the major platforms his campaign is focused on, garnering cheers at the mention of protecting abortion rights. He urged the crowd to vote in support of the voiceless.

“Think about those who don’t get a vote in this election,” O’Rourke said. “And let’s make sure not only that we cast our ballots, but we bring out our friends, our classmates, our family members, our neighbors, the folks that we know on social media and who follow us on BeReal. Let’s bring them all in to what we are doing right now.”

O’Rourke’s spoke at 19 Texas college campuses in September and October to rally young voters. He has been outspoken about his belief that electing a Democratic governor in Texas lies in the hands of Gen Z and millennial voters.

“I think that he connects with the younger generation more than the older because of social media and his endorsements from celebrities,” Buck said. “He’s getting this younger generation to vote, which I think the current administration is fearful about. Because finally, this younger generation is saying no more.”