With primary win, Beto O'Rourke will face Ted Cruz in Senate race

KXAN Staff - AUSTIN (KXAN) -- The battle between Beto O'Rourke and U.S. Senator Ted Cruz has officially begun.

O'Rourke, who was favored to win the Democratic primary, easily secured his slot by a 63 percent margin, according to the Associated Press. The other Democratic primary candidates were Edward Kimbrough and Sema Hernandez. Cruz easily won his GOP primary with 84 percent of the vote. 

Cruz used his watch party to take a jab at liberals and O'Rourke. "This General now poses a stark choice, a very clear choice to Texas voters. Because Congressman O'Rourke is an unapologetic hard-left liberal. He's a liberal whose views are very much the same as Chuck Schumer and Elizabeth Warren. He's someone who supports open borders and amnesty. He's an aggressive advocate of gun control. He's actively opposing second amendment rights. I don't think those views are the views of Texans."

O'Rourke, an El Paso congressman, has spent the past few months crisscrossing Texas to shake hands and tell people why he wants to serve them. 

In January, financial filings showed O'Rourke had cut into Cruz's fundraising lead. Rourke's campaign brought in $2.4 million in the FEC's fourth quarter of 2017, while Cruz raised $1.9 million, his staff confirmed. Cruz closed the year with nearly $7.3 million cash on hand, while O'Rourke ended with $4.6 million available. Cruz raised $7.1 million for the year, according to a campaign spokesperson. O'Rourke's press team said he raised $6.2 million since announcing his candidacy in March.

The two have battled in the bank since the start, as filings show O'Rourke hauled more than Cruz in the second quarter, and Cruz raised more than O'Rourke in the third quarter.

"We are only going to rely on real live people, human beings, no corporations or special interests," O'Rourke said, making a point that he has not accepted "a dime of [Political Action Committee] money."

The last time a Texas Democrat held a U.S. Senate seat was 1994.

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