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Beto O'Rourke fails fact-checking on his statements about his own mother

Rep. Beto O'Rourke (D-Texas) has told audiences at his campaign rallies that his mother was a "lifelong Republican" who has decided to cast her vote for him — but that's not quite true. (Image source: Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

Rep. Beto O'Rourke (D-Texas) failed a fact-check about statements he's been making about his own mother on the campaign trail.

O'Rourke has told audiences at his campaign rallies that his mother was a "lifelong Republican" who has decided to cast her vote for him, a Democrat, in his election against incumbent Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas).

"I am the son of a Republican mother who we have convinced to vote for me in this election," he said at a rally.

When speaking to students in San Marcos in September O'Rourke told them they needed to have “uncomfortable conversations with your Republican mother,” and referenced his own.

“It worked,” he added, “because she’s going to vote for me in November.”

But when CNN's investigatory team looked into the claim, they discovered it to be less than true.

Melissa O'Rourke told them that she voted for Barack Obama in 2008, but didn't remember who she voted for in 2016. So much for "lifelong Republican."

CNN reported that she's also voted in Democratic primaries in Texas since 2000. She also donated to Obama's presidential campaign in 2007.

Even more ironically, she donated to Ted Cruz's senatorial campaign in 2012.

'You know, that's just not right'

O'Rourke admitted in an interview with Buzzfeed in August that his own mother corrected him on his statements about her political affiliation.

"I introduce my mom sometimes, and I kid her a little bit, like 'my mom's a lifelong Republican, but we got her to vote for us in this race,'" he said in the interview.

O'Rourke said his mother went up to him one day and said, 'You know, that's just not right: I would describe myself as an independent now, not a Republican. Definitely not a Democrat.'

"I don't know what the size of that universe is, but anecdotally we're meeting a lot of people who have described themselves that way," he concluded.

Here's MSNBC fretting over O'Rourke's flailing campaign:

While the media has tried to portray O'Rourke as gaining ground in Texas, recent polls show Cruz in a comfortable lead, even as O'Rourke raises historically large donations to his campaign.

One last thing…
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