Democrat sources report U.S. Rep. Beto O’Rourke (D-TX) will announce his plans to run against Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) in his 2018 re-election bid.
“I’m very moved to do it,” O’Rourke, 44, said, according to the Houston Chronicle. O’Rourke said he had reached “the emotional decision” about running after traveling across Texas for the past three months. He has made no secret of his interest in running for the seat. Just before his re-election to his third term last November, the Texas Tribune reported O’Rourke’s interest in either running against Senator Cruz in 2018 or Senator John Cornyn (R-TX) in 2020.
O’Rourke currently represents the far West Texas District that includes El Paso.
The congressman could face a challenger from within his own party in the 2018 Democratic Party Primary as fellow Rep. Joaquin Castro is also reported to be interested in running in 2018. Castro, who has been rising in the ranks of Democrat reps, is expected to announce his intentions in April, the Houston Chronicle stated.
While the young representative from El Paso unseated a long-serving fellow Democrat in 2012 (Rep. Sylvester Reyes), his anti-gun positions and other liberal leanings would make him a very unlikely to unseat a popular Republican senator who finished in second place in a field of 17 major candidates, the largest ever U.S. presidential primary race. Cruz has a war chest filled with cash and a proven ability to raise millions.
O’Rourke drew national attention in the summer of 2016 when he staged a live-streamed House Floor “sit-in” calling for stricter gun-control measures, a highly unpopular position for a potential statewide Texas politician.
The Texas Tribune reported comments from a Democrat Senate campaign strategist who said it would take about $30 million for a “barebones” campaign in Texas. To have any chance, a candidate would need to raise around $50 million, the unnamed operative stated.
One reason O’Rourke could be considering the 2018 run against Cruz is his stated position of supporting term limits for Congress.
Senator Cruz’s campaign has yet to respond to O’Rourke’s intentions.