Beto 2020? O'Rourke Loses Texas Senate Race to Ted Cruz

Ted Cruz / Getty
Ted Cruz / Getty
November 6, 2018

Sen. Ted Cruz (R., Texas) has defeated progressive superstar Beto O'Rourke in one of the most expensive and closely watched Senate races in American history.

The Associated Press called the victory for Cruz at 9:27 p.m. Central Standard Time.

Senate Republicans are now assured of maintaining their majority and could even expand it by the end of the night, having already defeated Democratic incumbents in North Dakota and Indiana.

O'Rourke, whose real name is Robert Francis O'Rourke, captured liberal hearts in Hollywood and across the country with viral videos and eye-popping fundraising numbers, running an unabashedly progressive campaign in a state that hasn't elected a Democrat to statewide office in decades.

Cruz remained optimistic of victory throughout the campaign, however, and polls consistently showed him leading his Democratic challenger. He attacked O'Rourke as too liberal for Texas, hitting him on his stances on immigration, drugs and gun control.

National Republican Senatorial Committee chairman Cory Gardner released a statement congratulating Cruz.

"Ted Cruz knows how to get the job done for Texans and tonight’s victory shows voters trust him to put their values first," Gardner said. "Senator Cruz has been an unfailing champion for secure borders, a prosperous economy and the American rule of law, and we congratulate him on his reelection."

The full results aren't in yet, but O'Rourke made the race far closer than Wendy Davis, the last Texas progressive to make national liberals swoon. She ran for governor in 2014 and was crushed by Greg Abbott, losing by more than 20 points.

O'Rourke repeatedly said he would not run for president, no matter the result, but his name has been floated among other Democratic contenders seeking to knock off Donald Trump in 2020.