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Beto O’Rourke Most Likely Doesn’t Want to Ban Barbecue in Texas

Despite what his opponent Ted Cruz said

Texas Senate Candidate Beto O’Rourke Holds Town Hall Meeting In Horseshoe Bay
Texas Senate candidate Beto O’Rourke at a town hall meeting in Horseshoe Bay
Chris Covatta/Getty Images
Nadia Chaudhury is the editor of Eater Austin covering food and pop culture, as well as a photographer, writer, and frequent panel moderator and podcast guest.

It seems more likely than not that if Democratic Texas senate candidate Beto O’Rourke wins in the fall, he wouldn’t ban barbecue in the state, despite what his opponent, Republican Texas Senator Ted Cruz, claimed during a campaign event held in Columbus, Texas last Saturday on September 15.

During the campaign event, Cruz said that “if Texas elects a Democrat, they’re going to ban barbecue across the state of Texas,” according to the Statesman. His remarks were in response to animal rights organization PETA’s protest outside the function in Columbus by handing out barbecue tofu.

Cruz reiterated his comments later by tweeting that the protest “illustrates the stakes of the election: if Beto wins, BBQ will be illegal!” followed by not one, but three laughing-crying emojis. Later, his spokesperson Catherine Frazier retweeted him to imply that Cruz was joking and that everyone should “lighten up.” Cruz followed that by admitting he was joking on Twitter.

O’Rourke hasn’t commented on Cruz’s claims, but any potential truth to Cruz’s remark is highly unlikely. The Senate candidate’s campaign hosted a Texas-wide one-day barbecue with over 100 cities participating in November 2017, which he attended via YouTube Live.

O’Rourke is also a general supporter of Texas food favorites, like tacos (he visited Rio Grande Valley essential taco spot Taco Palenque), and of course, his documented love of Whataburger and its triple meat cheeseburger.

Eater has reached out to O’Rourke for further comment; watch this space for updates.

This isn’t the first time Cruz has invoked food when it comes to his opponent. He tried to negatively compare O’Rourke to Whataburger: “He’s like a Triple Meat Whataburger liberal who is out of touch with Texas values.”

Then there’s the time Cruz said that that out-of-state Democrats want to turn Texas into “California, right down to tofu and silicon and dyed hair,” by electing O’Rourke earlier this month. That tofu comment led to a mock-up of O’Rourke’s campaign logo supporting “Tofu for Senate.” Vegan restaurant Counter Culture ran with it and will offer tofu specials during election day on Tuesday, November 6.

Cruz and O’Rourke will face off in three debates in September and October, the first being held in Dallas on Friday, September 21 focusing on domestic policy, which, perhaps, might include barbecue.