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O’Rourke set to take on Reyes for house seat

Published: Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Updated: Friday, May 17, 2013 13:05

beto-reyes

Special to The Prospector

Incumbent U.S Representative Silvestre Reyes will face Beto O’Rourke in the Democratic primary March 2012 for a spot in the U.S. Congress.

Former El Paso City Council Rep. Beto O'Rourke will challenge eight-term incumbent U.S Representative Silvestre Reyes in the Democratic primary March 2012 for a spot in the U.S. Congress.

In what could be a very close race, one of the main deciding factors could be which candidate can earn the youth vote.

Gregory Rocha, associate professor of political science, said one of the things O'Rourke would try to do is appeal to younger voters, who usually don't vote in primary elections.

"If he can get others who normally don't participate in these elections, then it can work well for him," said Rocha. "If he can introduce something new and unique with Facebook and Twitter, but it all depends on the constant effort to remind everyone they are important."

Jacklyn Allen, senior criminal justice major, said she thinks O'Rourke is just feeding his ego, and he is aiming to be at the level that Reyes has been for eight terms.

"I would prefer Silvestre Reyes, because Beto O'Rourke is not well experienced. I don't think he really cares for what's going on in El Paso. I don't think anyone could get as high as Silvestre Reyes," Allen said. "To be in congress, you need much more experience than what O'Rourke has, and plus he is young and not qualified just yet to fill that chair."

Richard Flores, teaching assistant and graduate student in political science, said that although Reyes is also from El Paso, he has forgotten or overlooked many of the issues in El Paso because he spends too much time on the national scene in Washington, D.C.

"I think Beto O'Rourke will stand a pretty good chance running against (Reyes) if he is able to motivate people to vote for him in the primary," Flores said. "It's a crucial responsibility for somebody who goes to the House of Representatives to represent their constituencies in the area, and a lot of that has to do with employment prospects and economic stability."

O'Rourke is well known in El Paso, being the son of the deceased El Paso County Judge Pat O'Rourke. Rocha said people might remember the Charlotte's Furniture scandal from 2010 when the IRS raided O'Rourke's mother's business then there might be an obstacle, but people should focus on what he has to offer and disregard his personal life.

"Personal things can be brought in, there's no doubt about that and it will probably happen if the race gets real close. They will have to go beyond the traditional issues," Rocha said.

Jesus Garcia, senior digital media major, said he believes El Paso could use the fresh input O'Rourke has to offer and even though he is young, age couldwork to his advantage.

"I have lived in El Paso all my life and, honestly, I think El Paso seems a bit stagnant," Garcia said. "I think we can use the change and see what O'Rourke has to offer. It's not like Reyes has done a bad job, I just want to see if O'Rourke can do better."

Christian Guerrero may be reached at prospector@utep.edu.

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