Texas Senate Race: “If You Want to Run in Texas, You Can’t Be a Liberal Man”—Beto O’Rourke Challenges Ted Cruz, and Conventional Wisdom

  • Walter Clark WilsonEmail author


Texas’s 2018 Senate election was one of the most talked about in national political circles in recent memory. The reliably Republican state had not elected a Democrat statewide in more than 30 years, so three-term Congressman Beto O’Rourke’s decision to challenge Ted Cruz, a runner-up to Donald Trump in the 2016 race for the GOP presidential nomination, looked quixotic. O’Rourke ran an uncharacteristically liberal campaign, became a social media star, and outperformed expectations. Even in defeat, Democrats appeared upbeat about their future prospects. For O’Rourke, the campaign served as a surprisingly effective stepping stone to higher political aspirations, catapulting him to contention for the Democratic presidential nomination in 2020.

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© The Author(s) 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Political Science and GeographyThe University of Texas at San AntonioSan AntonioUSA

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