Newcomer Beto O'Rourke put up a great fight with a whopping $69 million in funds raised, but Ted Cruz still won in Texas Tuesday night.
To keep his Senate seat in the Lonestar State, Cruz fended off a fierce challenge from 39-year-old O’Rourke, the Democrat who captured national attention and raised more money than any Senate candidate in U.S. history. With help from Cruz' victory, Republicans also held their majority in the Senate.
TV networks began calling the race for Cruz when he secured 51 percent of the vote with about a quarter of districts reporting. O’Rourke, meanwhile, obtained about 49 percent of votes. A majority of white voters supported Cruz, but black voters overwhelmingly supported O’Rourke.
It’s a relieving victory for the GOP, which should not have had such trouble holding a Senate seat filled by a household name, especially in a blood-red state like Texas, where Democrats rarely fare well. O’Rourke, who represents Texas as a congressman in the U.S. House, gave Cruz an unexpected challenge in the contest. There was even speculation that O’Rourke was eyeing a 2020 bid, but he’s denied that he’s considering a presidential run.
Cruz has been a member of the Senate since 2012, when he won an upset victory in the Texas Republican primaries, and he ran for president in 2016, taking a beating from Donald Trump in debates and tweets. Trump had insulted the appearance of Cruz’s wife and pushed a conspiracy theory that Cruz’s father was connected to the assassination of President John F. Kennedy.
Despite the attacks, Cruz has been an ardent supporter of Trump since his election.
Cover image: Sen. Ted Cruz speaks during a campaign event Monday, Nov. 5, 2018, in Cypress, Texas. Cruz, the incumbent, is being challenged by Democratic U.S. Representative Beto O'Rourke. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)