Sen. Ted Cruz (R., Texas) mocked the "narrative" of Texas getting set to turn blue again during a CNN interview Wednesday, expressing confidence in a victory in November over an opponent he compared to former Texas gubernatorial candidate Wendy Davis.
Cruz coasted to a win in the Republican primary on Tuesday, but the focus in the media was on turnout on the Democratic side. While it was the highest it had been since 2002 with more than 1 million votes cast, more than 1.5 million voted in the GOP primary.
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According to the New York Times, Cruz earned more than 1.3 million votes in his primary, while Democratic nominee Beto O'Rourke got a little over 641,000. While Cruz said Tuesday that conservatives needed to be wary of Democratic enthusiasm because of their animosity toward President Donald Trump, he sounded more confident on Wednesday.
"There's no doubt the extreme left right now is energized. They are angry. They hate the president," Cruz said. "We're seeing that in turnout. That being said in Texas last night, we had a strong turnout for conservatives. It was really encouraging. The early vote numbers were quite good for Democrats, but at the end of the night, I was very gratified to win over 85 percent of the vote, to win 1.3 million votes, which is more than double what my Democratic opponent got."
"That doesn't quite fit the narrative that a lot of folks in the media want to tell because every two years, every four years, Texas is always fixing to turn blue, but the nice value of it is in Texas, at least, there are a lot more conservatives than liberals," he added.
In 2016, some polls gave Democrats hope of a Hillary Clinton upset victory in Texas as part of a resounding electoral college victory for her in the general election. That didn't come to fruition, as Trump cruised to victory. Texas hasn't voted Democratic in a presidential election since 1976, hasn't elected a Democratic governor since 1990, and hasn't elected a Democratic U.S. Senator since 1988.
Cruz said O'Rourke was "running hard to the left" by embracing positions like open borders, amnesty and undermining the Second Amendment.
"Now, those are wonderfully popular positions if you're running for the Senate in New York or Massachusetts or California," he said. "But this is Texas and those are not the views of the vast majority of Texans, and I think that's why you saw the overwhelming election results last night."
He went on to compare O'Rourke to Davis, the 2014 Democratic gubernatorial nominee who became nationally famous for filibustering on behalf of abortion rights when she was in the legislature. Republican Gov. Greg Abbott crushed her in the general election that year, winning by more than 20 points, and Cruz said her issues with Texans were presaged by her primary results.
"We all remember back four years ago when Wendy Davis was the next big thing in the national media," Cruz said. "On primary day, she lost in the Democratic primaries either 22 or 23 counties, all in south Texas, against an unknown Democrat with no money at all."
O'Rourke did similarly poorly in south Texas and the Rio Grande Valley on Tuesday night and won a little over 60 percent of the vote overall, despite facing two opponents, Sema Hernandez and Edward Kimbrough, with little money or name recognition.
"At the end of the day, I think we're going to see a very strong election day in November," Cruz said.