Senator Ted Cruz managed to secure a second term on Tuesday by defeating Democrat challenger Rep. Beto O’Rourke. One of the Democrats’ strongest attempts to win a statewide office in Texas. Cruz secured 51 percent of the vote when multiple networks called the race.
O’Rourke was a long shot but managed to run an energetic and well-funded campaign that drew the attention of Democrats across the country. O’Rourke is a Democrat from El Paso. Beto O’Rourke ran on health care, immigration and education funding. O’Rourke hit Cruz hard on his vote against the Affordable Care Act. He managed to raise over $70 million by mid-October, mainly from small donations.
During the campaign, Cruz blasted O’Rourke as a liberal who was out of touch with Texas’ conservatism on immigration, drugs and multiple other problems. The Cruz campaign highlighted his bipartisan work bringing federal aid following Hurricane Harvey. Ted Cruz managed to receive some major help from fellow Republicans, including President Donald Trump, who Cruz called a “pathological liar,” during the 2016 presidential primaries.
Last summer, Texas Lt. Governor Dan Patrick called on President Trump to visit the Lone Star State to keep O’Rourke at bay, and Trump ended up rallying voters for Cruz last month and labeled Ted Cruz “Beautiful Ted.” Polling numbers tightened as election day drew closer. Cruz always held single-digit leads in most public polls.
Cruz’s victory was a major blow to Democratic hopes that the party could eat into the Republican control of the state. Democrats attempted to show Cruz as a far-right force after many in his party questioned whether he was strong enough to defeat a likable candidate like Beto O’Rourke.
Ted Cruz returns to Washington defeating one of the Democrats’ top rising stars and held back a push to turn Texas into a Democrat stronghold. Cruz’s victory was followed by Republican Governor Greg Abbott’s victory.