At least 77,000 people have signed up for President Trump’s Houston rally on Monday to support incumbent Republican Sen. Ted Cruz, who is locked in the Texas Senate battle with Democratic Congressman Beto O’Rourke.
The Houston Chronicle reported that Houston police will be “fully mobilized” for the rally. Attendees must have tickets to enter and will be admitted in the order that they line up, the report said.
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"Keep in mind that once the capacity is met, you won't get in whether you have a ticket or not," an officer said.
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More than 77,800 people had signed up for the rally by Friday morning, according to The Chronicle. A person familiar with the event told the paper that the Trump campaign was not considering a move to a larger venue.
Houston police heard unconfirmed reports that a separate nearby rally for O’Rourke could also draw thousands, according to the report.
"We will have many many officers out and about," Chied Art Acevedo said. "We will have officers on the high ground, low ground, in the air. We will have officers in plainclothes, we will have undercover officers, we will have react teams."
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O’Rourke had borrowed a Trump nickname for Cruz, “Lyin’ Ted,” during a Texas Senate debate on Wednesday.
President Donald Trump tried to stoke fears of socialism Friday as he bashed Rep. Beto ORourke, the Democrat pushing to upset Republican Sen. Ted Cruz in red Texas.
Ahead of his Monday visit to Houston, Trump called the 46-year-old representative a “total lightweight compared to Ted Cruz” who “comes nowhere near representing the values and desires” of Texans. He suggested ORourke wants to “turn Texas into Venezuela” — deploying rhetoric he has used in an attempt to portray Democrats as dangerous leftists as the GOP tries to defend its congressional majorities on Nov. 6.
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The tweet comes as ORourke has forced Republicans to work harder than they typically do in statewide Texas races. The Democrat, who has harnessed his partys energy and smashed Senate fundraising records with a $38 million haul in the third quarter, would shake up the battle for control of the Senate if he shocked Cruz next month.
ORourke has gone no further left than a typical American Democrat. He has advocated for policies such as Medicaid expansion, tighter background checks for gun sales and a path to citizenship for young immigrants brought to the U.S. illegally as children. But the GOP has repeatedly cast him as too liberal for the state, which Trump carried by about 9 percentage points in 2016. Democrats have not won a statewide race there in more than 20 years.
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ORourke has put Cruz on his heels and gained a national stature Senate candidates rarely achieve. While the Democrat pulled close to the senator in independent surveys toward the end of the summer, every poll tracked by RealClearPolitics this month has found Cruz leading by at least 5 percentage points.
After Republicans sounded alarm bells about Cruzs grasp on his seat, the party stepped up its efforts to hold Texas. Trumps campaign rally set for Monday aims to cement support and engagement among the states Republicans.
As Democrats and independents who caucus with them defend 26 Senate seats this year, the party faces a brutal path to picking up the two net seats it needs to take a Senate majority. An ORourke win would go a long way toward mitigating GOP gains, or helping Democrats cut into the Republican majority.
In a sign of the momentum ORourke has gathered in Texas, the Houston Chronicle endorsed him earlier Friday. The newspaper is the second largest in the state.
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