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O’Rourke pushes voter participation at UTSA talk

October 5, 2018

Deon Turner and a few friends lined up outside Retama Auditorium at 10 a.m., a full five hours before U.S. Rep. Beto O’Rourke was scheduled to speak on the University of Texas at San Antonio campus.

The event was for the university community, not the general public, but by 2 p.m., with an hour still to go, several hundred students hauling “Beto for Senate” signs were being turned away from the space, reduced by construction to just a 400-person capacity. Some tried to buy their way in with cash offers.

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Don’t tell O’Rourke, the El Paso Democrat headed for a Nov. 6 showdown in a tight race challenging Republican U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz, that he’s wasting time and energy visiting college campuses this week.

“Our contention is that young people have not voted in the same numbers that older people have because no one shows up and asks their opinion,” he told reporters before the event.

Express-News Voters Guide: Elections 2018

Voter turnout among college students is traditionally low, but the nation’s polarized politics seemed apparent among UTSA students while O’Rourke was on campus. Student protests over Supreme Court nominee Judge Brett Kavanaugh, occurring outside the auditorium as he spoke, grew heated enough to prompt University President Taylor Eighmy to issue a statement urging forbearance. Posters were damaged and a reported assault was being investigated by UTSA Police, he said.

Read more at ExpressNews.com or in Friday’s Express-News.

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Krista Torralva covers several school districts and public universities in the San Antonio and Bexar County area. Read her on our free site, mySA.com, and on our subscriber site, ExpressNews.com. | Krista.Torralva@express-news.net | Twitter: @KMTorralva

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