Young Challenger Wins El Paso Congressional Primary Race
May 30, 2012

Photo by Mónica Ortiz Uribe
Beto O'Rourke holds his son while he speaks to local media at his election party in El Paso on Tuesday. O'Rourke won the Democratic nomination for the 16th Congressional District of Texas.

EL PASO, Texas -- For the first time in 16 years there is a new Democratic nominee for El Paso's 16th congressional district.

Challenger Beto O'Rourke beat eight-term congressman Silvestre Reyes in the Texas primary Tuesday. O'Rourke won almost 51 percent of the vote, and Reyes took 44 percent. The remainder of votes went to three other candidates in the race.

At O'Rourke's campaign party, hosted at a downtown El Paso restaurant, boisterous supporters sprayed their victorious candidate with bottles of champagne.

O'Rourke is a former city councilman who owns a web design company. His priorities for El Paso include improved medical services for veterans, better jobs and shorter wait times at the international bridges.

Incumbent Silvestre Reyes was elected in 1996 after a long career with the U.S. Border Patrol. He served as chief of the Intelligence Committee in Congress.

But neither Reyes' fundraising ability nor endorsements from former President Bill Clinton and current President Barack Obama were enough to save his seat. O'Rourke raised less than half the money his rival did.

After results were in Tuesday night, O'Rourke pumped up his supporters with a victory speech.

"We are the can-do city. And we are going to take this can-do attitude to Washington D.C.," he said.

El Paso is a largely Democratic district, which means O'Rourke is very likely to be victorious in November's general election.