The Houston Chronicle is confirming that El Paso Congressman Beto O’Rourke (D) will formally announce by Friday that he will challenge Sen. Ted Cruz (R) for re-election next year. If successful, the three-term Representative will be the first El Paso native ever elected to a major Texas statewide office.
The move had been speculated upon for several months, and more than likely pre-empts Rep. Joaquin Castro (D-San Antonio) from getting into the statewide race. The latter had also been contemplating opposing Cruz, but did not seem as serious about running as O’Rourke. Mr. Castro still says, however, that he is considering running and will decide “in several weeks.”
Texas has not sent a Democrat to the Senate since the late Lloyd Bentsen was re-elected in 1988. No Democrat has won a statewide office of any kind since 1990. Sen. Cruz remains a strong favorite to win his first re-election, but the O’Rourke challenge means he will not have a free ride in 2018.
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