Rep. Beto O'Rourke (D-TX), the insurgent Democrat taking on incumbent Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX), on Thursday released the first ad of his campaign employing his unique tactic of live-streaming his daily voyages across the behemoth state.
The 60-second spot, titled “Showing Up,” was shot on the campaign’s iPhone and uses strictly live-streamed footage from O’Rourke’s visits to all 254 counties in the state—a departure from traditional face-to-camera testimonials that have long been a hallmark of campaign ads.
The ad’s release comes right before O’Rourke embarks on another frenzied trip in the month of August, a 34-day drive promising nearly 100 events in more than 50 cities, with each one being live-streamed as has become standard practice.
O’Rourke’s calculation since starting this long-shot bid in the Lone Star state—where a Democrat's chances of winning statewide have always been considered about as good as the sky falling—has been to break down the walls between candidate and constituents. He has cultivated a digital fundraising army by broadcasting almost every second of his campaign travel, which is now being put to additional use with the release of this new ad.
There’s some evidence that a live-streamed Facebook video of his visit to a donut shop or an early morning run has proven effective. Last quarter, O’Rourke’s campaign raised a whopping $10.4 million, outpacing Cruz again, with contributions coming from individual donors and not PACs.
Publicly available polling has shown that O’Rourke still has work to do to close the gap with the conservative senator, as he trails from about five to 11 points.
But his omnipresent campaign and extraordinary fundraising has seemingly led Cruz to take the race quite seriously. Just yesterday, the Republican senator proposed five debates in the fall with O’Rourke, the most ever conducted in a Texas Senate race, according to Cruz’s campaign.
“This campaign is about showing up in every county and every community within every county, talking to everyone, taking no one for granted and writing no one off,” O’Rourke said in a statement. “You cannot be too much of a Democrat or too much of a Republican, live in too big of a city or too small of a town for us to show up and fight for you in this campaign and in the years ahead.”