TEXAS
     Nov. 6, 2018 Senate

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+Ted Cruz (R) i
4,260,553
50.89%
Beto O'Rourke (D)
4,045,632
48.33%
Neal Dikeman (L)
65,470
0.78%

8,371,655

Plurality: 214,921 votes (2.56 percentage points).
 TX Secretary of State




Notes: 
This was one of the most closely watched Senate races of the cycle.  U.S. Rep. Beto O'Rourke (D), the three-term congressman from El Paso, a rising star in the Democratic party, presented a strong challenge to Sen. Ted Cruz (R).  Also in the race was Neal Dikeman (L).

Cruz, 47, built a high profile from his abrasive politicking early in his tenure in the Senate.  From that base he waged strong
campaign for the 2016 Republican presidential nomination, ultimately suspending his effort on May 3, 2016.  Since then he underwent something of a reinvention, grabbing fewer headlines and devoting much of his attention to the needs of his Texas constituents (>).

O'Rouke, 46, emerged as a mega-star candidate.  It was not uncommon to spot people in D.C. wearing Beto T-shirts.  O'Rourke raised a record amount for a Senate candidate, reporting
total receipts of $80.3 million.  The campaign "put it all on the table," making total disbursements of $80.2 million and finishing with cash on hand of less than $500,000 (+).  The Cruz campaign meanwhile reported total receipts of $35.0 million and disbursements of $39.0 million during 2017-18 (+), and $45.1 million and $45.4 million for 2013-18. 

According to Open Secrets this
was the second most expensive Senate race of the cycle at $137.7 million in total spending (+), second to Florida ($204.4 million).  On top of the candidate committees' spending of $124.3 million, outside groups weighed in with a modest $13.4 million.

Cruz and O'Rourke debated two times, on Sept. 21 at SMU in Dallas (+) and on Oct. 16 at KENS 5 studios in San Antonio (+).  (A debate scheduled for Sept. 30 at the University of Houston was postponed due to the Kavanaugh nomination). 

President Trump appeared at a rally for Cruz on Oct. 22 in Houston (+).

Although he lost, O'Rourke emerged from the campaign with huge buzz, and was seen as one of the leading prospects in the nascent Democratic race for president in 2020.

See:
Patrick Svitek. "With more competitive races than usual, Texas saw deluge of outside spending."  Texas Tribune, Nov. 6, 2018.

Tessa Stuart.  "Inside the Final Days of Beto's Battle for Texas."  Rolling Stone, Nov. 4, 2018.

Nash Jenkins.  "Beto O'Rourke Is on a Long, Hard Road."  Time, May 22, 2018.

Eric Benson.  "Does Beto O'Rourke Stand a Chance Against Ted Cruz?"  Texas Monthly, Jan. 2018.


Campaign Managers:
Ted Cruz:  Jeff Roe

Founder (2005) of Axiom Strategies, based in Kansas City, MO.  Has run dozens of campaigns, including Cruz's 2015-16 presidential campaign.  A consultant to Gov. Rick Perry's 2011-12 presidential campaign.  Worked on voter ID on Mike Huckabee's 2008 campaign.  Started out working for then-state Rep. Sam Graves in 1994; helped elect him to the state Senate (1994) and to Congress in 2000; served as Graves' chief of staff to 2005.  Graduated from Northwest Missouri State University in Maryville, 1994.  Served in the Army National Guard.  Native of Brookfield, MO.

Beto O'Rourke:  Jody Casey
(Sept. 2017)  Eighteen-year career in the private sector; with GE from 1999, mostly in the energy industry.  B.S. in management from Georgia Institute of Technology.




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