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Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas to face Colin Allred in general election

Looking ahead to the race for U.S. Senate in Texas this November
Looking ahead to the race for U.S. Senate in Texas this November 05:02

Rep. Colin Allred on Super Tuesday won the Democratic primary to take on Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas in November, which will likely be a closely-watched race. 

Democrats only have a 51-49 majority in the Senate, and are likely to lose Sen. Joe Manchin's seat in deep-red West Virginia since he is not running for reelection. In this cycle, there are two other Democratic senators up for reelection in states won by former President Donald Trump in 2020.  

Taking on Cruz will be a longshot since no Democrat has won a statewide race in Texas in 30 years. Despite that Texas leans red, former Democratic Rep. Beto O'Rourke came within three points of Cruz in 2018. At the time, O'Rourke raised $38 million in a single quarter, which was then a record for a Senate candidate. 

That same year, two Democrats, including Allred, flipped two House seats, and Democrats flipped 12 seats in the state House. But that was the end of the bright spot for Texas Democrats, with the party failing to flip any more seats in 2020, and O'Rourke losing the governor's race by 10 points in 2022. 

Although Democrats regained control of the House in 2018, it was a tougher map for the Senate, where they lost four seats. Their only pickups that year were in Nevada, with Sen. Jacky Rosen, and Arizona, with Sen. Kyrsten Sinema, who later switched to being an independent. On Tuesday, Sinema announced she would not be seeking reelection.

Who is Sen. Ted Cruz?

Cruz, 53, was first elected to the Senate in 2012. A conservative firebrand, he ran for president in 2016 and won the second-most delegates after former President Donald Trump. Although he later embraced Trump, he delivered a fiery rebuke to Trump at the 2016 Republican National Convention and did not endorse him. 

In 2018, he was expected to sail to reelection in deep-red Texas, but O'Rourke gained national recognition and raised big money in the race. Although he came within three points of Cruz, O'Rourke later launched a failed bid for president in 2019, and then lost by 10 points against Gov. Greg Abbott in 2022. 

Cruz once again made national headlines in 2021 when he was spotted leaving Texas for Mexico while much of the state had no electricity during an ice storm. He said later the trip was "obviously a mistake." Democrats, including Allred, have mocked him relentlessly for it. 

But even without a primary challenger, Cruz has already raised more than $46 million for the 2024 election. 

Who is Rep. Colin Allred?

A former NFL player from the Dallas area, the 40-year-old Allred was first elected to the House in 2018, when Democrats retook the House. He was one of two Democrats who flipped U.S. House seats in Texas that year.

Allred was one of 14 House Democrats who joined with Republicans in a resolution to condemn President Biden over his "open borders policies." 

If elected, Allred would be the first Black senator from Texas. 

Allred had raised more than $21 million for the 2024 race. He had faced nearly a dozen challengers, with the most serious challenger being Texas state Sen. Roland Gutierrez of San Antonio. 

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