AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — U.S. Rep. Beto O'Rourke had the livestream rolling in a South Texas laundromat recently when he held up a wet pair of his underwear for the camera.

The Democrat from El Paso uses Facebook Live constantly in his bid to upset Republican Sen. Ted Cruz. He broadcasts nearly every day from the campaign trail, sometimes for hours.

O'Rourke's use of Facebook Live at near junkie levels isn't completely unique. But it could be more than the latest vote-getting gimmick. 

It defies top politicians' increasing tendency to control all contact. And, for underdogs, it can mean free media and making low-stakes connections with voters.

The trend is also fitting in the era of Donald Trump, who is fond of shooting unfiltered thoughts directly to supporters but uses Twitter, not Facebook Live.