Consecutive number of Democratic U.S. Senate candidates who have failed to take at least 44% of the vote – let alone win – since Lloyd Bentsen received 59% of the vote in 1988.

U.S. Rep. Joaquin Castro (D-San Antonio) told the Washington Post he is “going to take a look” at running against U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz (R) in 2018. The last Democrat to run against Cruz, former Rep. Paul Sadler (D-Henderson) received just over 40% of the vote in 2012. The fact that the race will occur in a gubernatorial year hurts Castro and any other prospective candidate. Since 1990, Democratic nominees for U.S. Senate have averaged less than 38% of the vote in gubernatorial election years, nearly 5 percentage points below the average presidential election year nominee (excluding perennial candidate Gene Kelly in 2000).

Since 1960, only two Democrats have been elected to the U.S. Senate from Texas: Lloyd Bentsen four times and Ralph Yarborough once. Republicans have won the other 15 contests. Below are all the shares of the vote taken by all 20 Democrats nominated to run for U.S. Senate since the 1961 special election triggered by Lyndon Johnson’s election as Vice President.

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