Democratic Rep. Beto O’Rourke’s mother, who he often heralds as a “lifelong” Republican who now supports his effort to unseat Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, has frequently voted for Democrats in primary elections and also donated to Barack Obama before he became president.
A Tuesday CNN report revealed that Melissa O’Rourke has voted in the Texas Democratic primaries since 2000, while donating money to candidates on both sides of the political spectrum.
She donated to Cruz and then-Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney in 2012, but also donated to then-Democratic Sen. Barack Obama in 2007.
"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.' One day, she came up to me, and she said, 'You know, that's just not right: I would describe myself as an independent now, not a Republican. Definitely not a Democrat,’" Beto O'Rourke said in a BuzzFeed profile from August.
[Related: Beto O'Rourke won't share his $38M with fellow Democrats]
He has said the same thing about his mother turning from being a “lifelong Republican” to support his run in several speeches and interviews.
“For the most part I have voted Republican probably nationally and then more regionally, more Democrats,” Melissa O’Rourke told CNN.
Despite voting in Democratic primaries for almost two decades, O’Rourke said that her turn to voting and donating more to Democrats is from President Trump’s rhetoric on the promised border wall and immigration.
Texas is an open-primary state, but out of the last 17 primaries she voted in, O’Rourke cast a ballot on the Democratic side 15 times.