Ted Cruz

Beto O'Rourke speaks at his Turn out for Texas campaign event at Auditorium Shores in Austin on Sept. 29, 2018.
Montinique Monroe / KUT

U.S. Rep. Beto O'Rourke, D-El Paso, ultimately raised over $80 million in his unsuccessful bid to unseat U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas — and he left little in his campaign coffers when it was all done.

Julia Reihs / KUT

By most measures, Republicans are still dominating in Texas.

In this past election, the party won every statewide office – just like it has in the past two decades. This time around, however, the margins were close. So close, in fact, some Texas Republicans say they are nervous ahead of the 2020 presidential election.

Gabriel C. Pérez (O'Rourke); Julia Reihs (Cruz) / KUT

This midterm, the U.S. Senate race in Texas captivated the entire country and was touted as a bellwether for Democrats' future in the deep-red state. On election night, KUT journalists Julia Reihs and Gabriel C. Pérez joined Sen. Ted Cruz and Rep. Beto O'Rourke, respectively, as they watched the results come in.

Here's what they saw:

Are Texas Suburbs Slipping Away From Republicans?

Nov 7, 2018
Pu Ying Huang for The Texas Tribune

By the end of Election Day, the political maps of the state’s suburban and swing counties had a peculiar blue tint.

The blue washed over the Dallas-Fort Worth area and crept up on suburban counties in North Texas. It spread from Houston — in a county that was once a political battleground — and crested over some of its suburban communities. And it swept through the Interstate 35 corridor from Travis County to its neighbors to the north and south.

Gabriel C. Pérez (O'Rourke); Julia Reihs (Cruz) / KUT

KUT's Ashley Lopez discusses incumbent GOP Sen. Ted Cruz's win over Democratic challenger Beto O'Rourke with Morning Edition's Noel King.

Julia Reihs / KUT

Republican Sen. Ted Cruz has won re-election in Texas, fending off a tough challenge from Democrat Beto O'Rourke.

"Texas came together behind a common-sense agenda of low taxes, low regulation and lots and lots of jobs," Cruz told supporters at an election night watch party in Houston. "[It was about] securing the border and keeping our communities safe, defending the Constitution and the Bill of Rights."

PHOTOS | Scenes From The Cruz And O'Rourke Election Night Watch Parties

Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon / KUT

Turnout was strong during early voting in Texas — more than 47 percent of registered voters in Travis County have already cast ballots.

Montinique Monroe/KUT

Months before he was arrested on allegations of mailing bombs to several prominent Democrats, Cesar Sayoc sent threatening messages over Facebook to U.S. Rep. Beto O'Rourke, D-El Paso, a spokesman for O'Rourke's U.S. Senate campaign confirmed Wednesday.

Robin Jerstad: Cruz/Leslie Boorhem-Stephenson: O'Rourke

More than $100 million has now been raised for the U.S. Senate race in Texas.

Thursday was the deadline for the candidates to report their fundraising numbers for the first 17 days of October, and their figures pushed the total fundraising for the race into nine-figure territory. The Democratic nominee, Beto O'Rourke, raked in $8.5 million — another enormous haul — while Republican incumbent Ted Cruz brought in $5.2 million.

Tom Reel/San Antonio Express-News

From Marfa Public Radio:

Senate candidates from Texas, Ted Cruz and Beto O'Rourke, have spent a lot of time discussing their stances on immigration, health care and the economy while on the campaign trail. But the environment is a topic that is seldom discussed.  

That's why Jon Gergen, a retired listener from Plano, asked Texas Decides: "Specifically what policies Mr. Cruz and Mr. O’Rourke are for, or against, to deal with what I perceive most of the scientific community believes is a severe climate problem."

Marjorie Kamys Cotera/Robin Jerstad / The Texas Tribune

Republican incumbent U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz leads U.S. Rep. Beto O’Rourke, D-El Paso, by 5 percentage points among likely voters in a new Ipsos online poll released Wednesday in conjunction with Reuters and the University of Virginia. A September Ipsos poll showed O’Rourke ahead of Cruz by 2 percentage points among likely voters.

Bob Daemmrich/BDP Inc.

When Texas Tribune reporter Alana Rocha asked U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, last month whether he'd serve a full six-year Senate term if he defeats Democrat Beto O'Rourke in November, Cruz gave a two-minute reply — but didn't answer the question. O'Rourke, meanwhile, said he would serve a full term if he eked out a win over the incumbent.

But in an interview with ABC News over the weekend, Cruz gave a far firmer answer, saying he "absolutely" would serve a full Senate term if re-elected.

Here's Cruz's original interview with the Tribune.

Tom Reel/POOL/San Antonio Express-News

President Donald Trump attacked U.S. Rep. Beto O'Rourke, D-El Paso, early Wednesday morning in a series of tweets that said O'Rourke "would blow it all" if he defeats U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, in the November election.

Rep. Beto O’Rourke, who trails Sen. Ted Cruz in the polls of a senate race that has garnered national attention, turned markedly more aggressive, while the two clashed on topics ranging from the judicial confirmation of Bret Kavanaugh and the makeup of the U.S. Supreme Court to trade wars and border security Tuesday night in San Antonio.

The Texas Senate race is one of the closest-watched midterm contests in the country.

The Democratic challenger, Beto O’ Rourke, has been skateboarding through Facebook Lives, dueting with Willie Nelson and collecting a record $38 million in the last quarter — more than three times the total of incumbent Republican Ted Cruz.

Still, polls show Cruz leading by as many as nine points.

Montinique Monroe for KUT

Republican incumbent Sen. Ted Cruz and his Democratic challenger, Congressman Beto O'Rourke, will debate tonight one final time before early voting begins Monday.

Montinique Monroe for KUT

Texans got two very different snapshots last week of the Senate race between Republican incumbent Ted Cruz and his challenger, Democratic Congressman Beto O’Rourke.

Mike Segar/Reuters (left), Bob Daemmrich/The Texas Tribune

President Donald Trump is set to visit Houston on Oct. 22 to hold a rally for U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz in his re-election campaign.

Montinique Monroe/KUT

Congressman Beto O'Rourke (D-El Paso) says he's raised $38.1 million since July 1 for his effort to unseat incumbent Republican U.S. Senator Ted Cruz this November.

Last week, Cruz said he raised $12 million in the same period, which was a record for a Republican candidate.

Ivan Pierre Aguirre: O'Rourke/Bob Daemmrich: Cruz

WASHINGTON — A new poll released Thursday morning showed Republican U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz has stabilized his lead over his Democrat challenger, U.S. Rep. Beto O'Rourke of El Paso.

Fifty-four percent of Texans backed Cruz, while 45 percent backed O'Rourke in the latest Quinnipiac University poll.

Abby Livingston / The Texas Tribune

Two people were taken to the hospital Tuesday after a "white powdery substance" was sent to the Houston campaign office of U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz, according to authorities who said the power turned out not to be hazardous.

Julia Reihs / KUT

Congressman Beto O’Rourke, the El Paso Democrat hoping to oust Sen. Ted Cruz in November, is not shying away from talking about race. And black voters are noticing.

According to a Quinnipiac University poll released last month, 97 percent of black voters surveyed said they favor O’Rourke.

Bob Daemmrich for The Texas Tribune

WASHINGTON — An explosive week at the U.S. Capitol is expected to climax Thursday when the Senate Judiciary Committee hears allegations of sexual misconduct against U.S. Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh — and Kavanaugh gets the opportunity to respond.

It was more duel than debate Friday night in Dallas as Republican Sen. Ted Cruz and Democratic challenger Beto O’Rourke went after each other from the start. Snappy and heavy on snark, Cruz and O’Rourke held nothing back in the first of three debates.

Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon/KUT (O'Rourke); Montinique Monroe for KUT (Cruz)

U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) and his challenger U.S. Rep. Beto O'Rourke (D-El Paso) kick off the first of three debates tonight in Dallas. Tonight's debate at the SMU campus, like the one in Houston on Sept. 30, will focus squarely on domestic policy. Their final debate on Oct. 16 in San Antonio will split time between domestic and foreign policy.

The race is expected to be the closest we've had in Texas since the 2002 race for lieutenant governor. So both sides head into the three debates hoping to change just enough minds to eke out a victory on Nov. 6.

The Texas Senate race wasn't supposed to be competitive this year. But thanks to an imaginative campaign, Beto O'Rourke has energized Democrats, drawing huge crowds and raising tens of millions of dollars in what was initially seen as a long-shot bid to defeat Republican Sen. Ted Cruz.

Marjorie Kamys Cotera:O'Rourke/Bob Daemmrich: Cruz

U.S. Rep. Beto O’Rourke, D-El Paso, leads Republican incumbent Ted Cruz by 2 percentage points among likely voters, according to an Ipsos online poll released Wednesday in conjunction with Reuters and the University of Virginia. O’Rourke has been closing the gap over the last several months, but this is the first poll that puts him ahead of Cruz.

Montinique Monroe for KUT; Julia Reihs/KUT

You've probably heard about the “blue wave” that’s forecast to sweep U.S. elections this November. Some expect it to flip dozens of congressional seats from red to blue, turning control of the U.S. House over to Democrats. And there’s even a slight chance that Democrats could win enough seats to take control of the U.S. Senate.

Marjorie Kamys Cotera: O'Rourke/Robin Jerstad: Cruz

U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, and his Democratic challenger, U.S. Rep. Beto O'Rourke, D-El Paso, have agreed to three debates before Election Day.

Announced Friday by both campaigns, the schedule calls for debates Sept. 21 in Dallas, Sept. 30 in Houston and Oct. 16 in San Antonio. Each event will be an hour long and vary in topic and format:

Bob Daemmrich / BDP Inc.

The campaign of Beto O'Rourke, the Democratic nominee for U.S. Senate, says an "impostor" was behind a text message that surfaced Wednesday asking voters to help people who are in the country illegally cast ballots.

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