The fall campaign is already underway between incumbent Republican U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz and Democratic upstart Rep. Beto O’Rourke.
Cruz labeled O’Rourke as a “left-wing liberal Democrat” and compared him to Vermont U.S. Bernie Sanders during a conference call with reporters before the polls even closed on Tuesday. Both Cruz and O’Rourke faced token opposition in their respective primaries and were expected to be the nominees for their parties.
A Democratic candidate hasn’t won a statewide race in Texas since 1994, but O’Rourke’s campaign is something Republicans haven’t seen in a while. He’s raised more money than Cruz in two of the last three quarters, according to financial reports. But Cruz still has more money overall, with a campaign war chest worth $7.3 million compared to O'Rourke's $4.6 million.
“It is true that the extreme left is angry and energized and they hate the president,” Cruz said on Tuesday’s conference call. “But the good news is there are more conservatives than there are liberals in Texas.”
A third-term House member from El Paso, O'Rourke has shunned outside political money and once played guitar in a punk band. He's trying to woo Democrats and Republicans disenchanted with Cruz.
O’Rourke is expected to address supporters across the state via Facebook Live sometime Tuesday night.