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
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.