U.S. Rep. Beto O’Rourke (D-El Paso) made his challenge to U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz (R) official at a rally in his hometown of El Paso today (Friday). No Democrat has been elected to the U.S. Senate from Texas since 1988, and no sitting representative from Texas has been promoted to the Senate since 1984. No Democrat has won statewide since 1994.
A three-term member of Congress, O’Rourke has twice defeated incumbents to win the two public offices he’s held. In 2005, he defeated a two-term incumbent for a seat on the El Paso City Council. Seven years later, he upset longtime U.S. Rep. Silvestre Reyes (D-El Paso) in a primary election.
O’Rourke begins the campaign a 10-to-1 underdog in campaign resources. As of the end of 2016, Cruz had $4.2M on hand after raising $779K in the last quarter of the year. O’Rourke reported having $399K on hand after raising $201K during the last three months of the year. In fact, Cruz raised more in those final three months of 2016 than O’Rourke raised during the entire 2015-16 cycle.
Today (Friday) is the last day of the current fundraising period, and timing his announcement for this day will give an early sign into O’Rourke’s fundraising ability as a Senate candidate.
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