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US midterms: O'Rourke fails to dislodge Cruz in Texas

Beto O'Rourke concedes to Senator Ted Cruz as his wife Amy looks on
Beto O'Rourke concedes to Senator Ted Cruz as his wife Amy looks on REUTERS/Mike Segar

The Texas Senate race was one of the most-watched in the US's 2018 midterm elections. Democrat Beto O’Rourke’s narrow defeat to incumbent Ted Cruz represents a blow to those hoping to shift the politics of the Republican-dominated state.


In his victory speech, Cruz said he faced an “assault that was
unprecedented” from O’Rourke, but that what won were his ideas.

“This election was a battle of ideas. It was a contest for who we are
and what we believe,” he said. “Texas came together, behind a
common-sense agenda of low taxes, low regulations and lots and lots
of jobs; securing the border and keeping our communities safe and
defending the constitution and the bill of rights.”

Ted Cruz narrowly beat Beto O'Rouke
Ted Cruz narrowly beat Beto O'Rouke RFI

Cruz congratulated O’Rourke, silencing jeers from his supporters as he did so.

“He poured his heart into his campaign,” he said, adding that
“millions across the state were inspired by his campaign … I am your
senator as well.”


O'Rourke campaigners disappointed

Polls indicated that Cruz would win but O’Rourke supporters held on
to hope that a campaign to get out first-time voters to the polls
would prove the predictions wrong.

Disappointment was written on the face of everyone leaving the
election result watch party organised by Houston’s O’Rourke

“I just want to go home and puke,” said June, 56, on her way out. When
pressed, she admitted that she is not surprised by O’Rourke’s loss but she is disappointed.

“I felt so close, that maybe there was a chance … that that Texas
didn’t have to be such a small-minded, conservative, yucky place,” she

“I’m ashamed that it was so close, after all that was said on the
right,” said Trevell, 27. “Given where we are and who is leading us,
I’m just ashamed”

Campaign organisers and Democratic leaders tried to raise morale by
pointing out that O’Rourke helped other candidates.

“We are winning Democratic seats in Texas and the US congress,” said
Sheila Jackson Lee, a member of congress who easily won her
reelection. “That’s something to cheer about.”

Indeed, Democrats won a few key races in the Repubican-dominated
state, including House District 7, which was held by George HW Bush.
Democrat, where Lizzie Pannill Fletcher beat incumbent John Culberson.

And Texas also elected its first two Latina women, both Democrats, to
Congress, Sylvia Garcia and Veronica Escobar.

In addition, Jackson Lee warned that there would be legal challenges
to voting irregularities in Houston’s Harris County. Polls were kept
open later in several precincts to accommodate problems with voting

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