Perhaps no Senate race, or any midterm race for that matter, is being as closely watched as that of the one in which Ted Cruz (R-TX) finds his seat on the Senate challenged by Democrat Beto O’Rourke. The simple fact that polls are split on who is in the lead at this point, and in Texas, is proof that it’s a race that should gravely concern Republicans.
Beto O'Rourke, Ted Cruz's Democratic challenger, raised nearly $9.1 million online for his Senate bid in August https://t.co/a8k9Um0QO7
— POLITICO (@politico) September 21, 2018
In addition to encouraging polls, fundraising numbers are convincing Democrats that their candidate may actually have a shot in this race, something that would have been unthinkable in Texas in previous years.
According to POLITICO:
‘The online haul puts O’Rourke on pace to have one of the most prolific fundraising quarters of any Senate candidate in history, excluding self-funders. In the past two months, O’Rourke has raised nearly $12 million online — already more than the eye-popping $10.4 million he brought in from April through June of this year. By comparison, Cruz raised $4.1 million in the second quarter of this year and $13.2 million from January 2017 through June 2018, according to his latest campaign finance report.’
— Matthew Sheffield (@mattsheffield) September 21, 2018
O’Rourke is relying on a strategy of visiting every single district in Texas that he would be elected to represent as well as grassroots fundraising that does not rely on super PACs or corporate donors like the NRA. Cruz is relying on those donations from the NRA as well as an endorsement from President Donald Trump, with whom he hasn’t so much been friendly in the past.
Texas is a Republican stronghold. Trump won their electoral college votes over his challenger, Hillary Clinton, by a full nine points. However, that is a far cry below the 2012 presidential election in which Mitt Romney won by nearly 16 points.
Texas Senate GE:
Beto O'Rourke (D) 50%
Ted Cruz (R-inc) 50%
— Political Polls (@Politics_Polls) September 20, 2018
No matter what happens in November, the midterm election has proven that Texas is no longer the guaranteed win for Republicans than it has been in the past. In fact, it may be our biggest indicator of a blue wave coming in November that we’ve seen yet.