One of the most respected Republican Senators in Washington finds himself with a new challenger gunning for his position.
Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX), will have competition in the 2018 election, as Rep. Beto O’Rourke (D-TX) has officially filed to challenge his Senate seat, according to The Hill.
The Democrat challenger, who has served in Congress since 2013, announced in March that he would try to oust Sen. Cruz from his position in next year’s election. Although no Democrat has won a Senate election in Texas since 1988, Mr. O’Rourke remains hopeful, feeling that Texans are ready for a change. Regardless of his optimism, the political underdog is expecting an uphill battle in the coming months.
“Today’s filing is not only a chance to recommit ourselves to this critical race but to recommit to running it in the right way: being present, accountable, candid, transparent and powering each step of the way by people, not PACs,” O’Rourke said on Monday.
He stated that he would spend most of December traveling around the state, hitting 30 counties ahead of the Christmas holidays in an effort to get a head-start on his opponent, who already has a number of advantages over O’Rourke.
The Democrat challenger has raised nearly $2.8 million since he entered the race, according to reports filed with the Federal Election Commission, but is still less than Sen. Cruz, who raised $5.7 million in the same period.
However, O’Rourke’s campaign boasted that it received roughly 7,000 more individual donations during the third quarter than Cruz’s did – 32,969 to Sen. Cruz’s 25,977. O’Rourke’s staff also noted that the Democrat’s campaign continued to reject PAC money over the period, “unlike nearly every single other campaign in the country,” according to The Texas Tribune.
“People of this state want something better,” said the El-Paso Democrat in a video message to his supporters earlier this year.
Rep. O’Rourke also gained an endorsement from the Progressive Change Campaign Committee earlier in the year when he announced he was running in March, and has since enjoyed further support from liberal groups.
Democrats have been aiming to sweep back into local, state, and national offices in the 2018 elections in an attempt to chip away that the GOP’s majorities, especially in the House and Senate. Many states, such as Alabama, are key targets for political strategists on both parties, and with some voters getting frustrated at the GOP’s infighting and inability to pass crucial reform, Democrats remain hopeful that significant anti-GOP turnout could tip the scales in their favor.
At the same time, however, Democrats will need to defend 10 seats in states that President Trump carried in the General Election. As such, trying to win the unlikely Texas Senate seat seems like a low fundraising priority for the party.
A Democrat is challenging Ted Cruz’s seat in the Senate. Will Sen. Cruz be able to keep his seat?
Worse still for Sen. Cruz, recent approval polls conducted by The Texas Politics Project, which compiles favourability ratings for each month, have been disappointing. The most recent data from October 2017 show that 38 percent of people have a favorable impression of the incumbent Senator, in contrast to 45 percent of people having a negative opinion.
Although it seems unlikely that this newcomer will oust the long-standing Republican, Sen. Cruz would do well to take the upcoming election seriously.