Number of counties where Beto O’Rourke received at least 25% fewer votes in his 2018 race against Ted Cruz than Paul Sadler received in his 2012 race against Cruz. Overall, O’Rourke improved on Sadler’s head-to-head vote percentage in 69 counties, but he lost ground in the other 185 counties.

Beto O'Rourke

Beto O’Rourke

O’Rourke, a three-term Democratic congressman from El Paso, made it a point to campaign in all 254 of the state’s counties. He reached that milestone during an early June rally in Cooke Co. after nearly 15 months of campaigning. In the end, O’Rourke was the most successful Democratic statewide nominee in a generation, but he lost to Cruz, 51%-48%. Cruz received 4.26M votes, and O’Rourke received 4.05M votes.

Six years earlier, Cruz won an open-seat race for a U.S. Senate seat over former state Rep. Paul Sadler (D-Henderson), 56%-41%. Cruz received 4.44M votes to Sadler’s 3.19M, giving Cruz a 58%-42% head-to-head victory.

O’Rourke won 32 counties. Sadler won 25. O’Rourke flipped Brewster, Fort Bend, Harris, Hays, Nueces, Tarrant and Williamson Cos. and otherwise won the same 25 counties as Sadler.

The map shows the difference in head-to-head vote between O’Rourke and Sadler. O’Rourke performed better than Sadler in counties shaded blue and worse than Sadler in counties shaded red.

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