BREAKING: Beto just got run out of Rockdale, Texaspic.twitter.com/JHSV1FwIsV
— Jack Posobiec 🇺🇸 (@JackPosobiec) August 8, 2022
“People are buzzing! It’s a big buzz,” says Suzanne Bellsnyder, who owns the one coffee shop [in Spearman]. Local gossip networks have already alerted her that Beto (he’s achieved one-name celebrity status in these parts, like Cher) is next door having lunch. It’s a Saturday afternoon, and he’ll be speaking in a park, with the temperature hitting 105 degrees.
People are buzzing in a good way? Like, excited?
She smiles. Well, what do you think? Beto mustered only 8 percent of the vote here in 2018 when he ran as the Democratic candidate for Senate against the Republican incumbent, Sen. Ted Cruz. That’s 138 votes out of 1,710 cast in all of Hansford County. “We don’t even have a Democrat primary,” says Bellsnyder, who is the former chair of the county’s Republican Party. “I mean, they hold one, but 12 people vote or something.” (Fact check: It was actually eight people in 2018 and 14 in 2022.)
The buzz had started in right-wing Facebook groups, where a protest was being planned. There was chatter about whether to bring guns. “Did you see the guy with the AR-15?” Beto asks me a few days later. “He was wearing it, coming toward the door, which is not unusual for us.” It’s also not unusual for a dozen shouting Republicans to confront Beto outside a town hall meeting of 337 people and then post videos on Twitter saying they’d run him out of town.
— Jada Yuan in Beto O’Rourke’s risky quest for votes in deep-red Texas