EL PASO — One El Pasoan said she’s tired of Texas being on “Cruz control,” so she has decided to run for a U.S. Senate seat, the first from this region to take the step.
Maxey Scherr, a 33-year-old El Paso attorney, will be campaigning against incumbent Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX). But however hungry she may be, the odds are not in her favor.
Cornyn, a Houston native, has held office since 2002 and does have more than 10 years of government experience versus her zero.
Scherr, an El Paso native, kicked off her campaign Dec. 5 with some very strong words against both Texas senators, saying they are the epitome of everything wrong in Washington.
“I’m running for the U.S. Senate because their (Sen. Ted Cruz and Cornyn) agenda leaves too many people behind,” she said in a statement released Dec. 5. “You deserve a senator who listens and is respectful, and who is focused on solving problems. Sen. Cornyn is stuck on ‘Cruz Control’ on every issue that matters and I’m running for Senate because I won’t be.”
There are many—El Pasoans especially—who might agree with Scherr’s statement, as Cruz is considered an extreme Tea Party Republican. Scherr’s heart may be in the right place, but considering she has no experience holding office and there are five other Democrats competing for the spot, it is very unlikely she will win this race.
But Scherr’s candidacy means something greater than herself.
Maybe her campaign won’t result in an office on Capitol Hill, but in the grander scheme of things, this might be the start of something good for El Paso, women and Texas’s Democratic party.
Scherr has described herself as a single mother of Jewish, Middle Eastern and Latino ancestry with an African-American child. She is “everything they’re against,” she told The Austin Statesman on Dec. 10, “they” meaning Cruz and Cornyn.
This minority voice gaining national attention may mean El Paso might suddenly matter to public officials.
Traditionally El Pasoan’s have a knack for skipping out on election day. During the 2012 presidential elections only 43 percent showed up to vote. According to El Paso County statistics this was the lowest turnout since 2000. This is the perfect excuse politicians need to ignore this region. But with a native El Pasoan running, more of our population might be inclined to step out and vote.
Maybe now, Austin and Washington will not be able to get away with confusing El Paso for Mexico. Maybe now, officials will want to hear what El Pasoans have to say and will want to compete for our votes despite our traditionally Democratic-leaning.
It’s old news that Democratic Sen. Wendy Davis is running for Texas Governor and, along with Scherr, two other women—one of which is Hispanic—are running for the Senate seat. Although female candidates are still vastly in the minority, they are gaining more national attention.
This doesn’t mean women will suddenly reign supreme, or that Texas will become a blue state. But these strong candidates may spark a fire that has been suppressed for so many years.
Voting has recently become more difficult for women and minorities in Texas. The 2013 Texas voter ID law requires identification at the polls, and for women who have had name changes as a result of marriage or divorce, voting may not be so simple. Minorities are statistically less likely to have state issued ID, and a lot of regions of Texas do not have a DMV where they can try to obtain one.
Statistically, women and minorities tend to register as Democrats, so this new voter ID law may lead to the downfall of the female candidates.
But despite theses candidate’s potential losses, the attention they and these issues are getting matter to those who have been dealt the short end of the stick—namely women, minorities and border regions like our own.