As TV pundits continued to speculate wildly about the midterm election results on Tuesday morning, a 77-year-old woman won the hearts of viewers when she gave an emotional interview from a polling station in El Paso, Texas—after she saw Democratic U.S. Rep. Beto O’Rourke in line.
Pamela Aguirre brought along her oxygen tank, a “BETO FOR SENATE” T-shirt, and an orange beanie to the polls.
“We think he’s pretty important, and we’re honored that he was here,” Aguirre told MSNBC reporter Garrett Haake through tears. “He represents everything Donald Trump isn’t.”
O’Rourke is running to unseat Republican Sen. Ted Cruz in an uphill battle that has, despite all odds, been tighter than many pollsters could have anticipated. Even still, a Democrat hasn’t won statewide office in the Lone Star State since 1994, and—despite his supporters’ optimism—polls still consistently put Cruz ahead of O’Rourke.
Haake asked: “Tell me what it means to you to see Beto—who’s sort of a favorite son around here—out here representing El Paso, representing you, hoping to represent the whole state on the national stage?”
Aguirre replied: “I give him a lot of credit for standing up and saying what he thinks and for being willing to represent so many people who are like-minded. It means a lot. We are just so proud.”
“What will it feel like if you see him win this race tonight?” Haake asked.
“Everything,” Aguirre replied, wiping away tears. “Just everything.”
Early voting in Texas—at 129,000—surpassed total turnout for the 2014 election—at 27,000—before Tuesday’s polls even opened. The Daily Beast reported Monday that “he has a chance” has become an unlikely mantra for the underdog.
“We want him to win,” Aguirre said Tuesday. “We’ll be watching the TV tonight, with him—he’ll be some place in the city. But it’ll mean just so much. It’ll mean that by gosh we all still have a chance to have a decent country with decent values, with decent relationships with other people.”