Democrats aim to take out Cruz in 2018
The 2018 map is so bad for the party that to win the Senate majority, they have to prevail in Texas.
Facing a grim midterm map, Democrats are desperately trying to put enough GOP-held seats in play to take advantage of Donald Trump’s unpopularity and carve a credible path back to Senate control. The odds are so long that Democrats must pin their hopes on taking out Ted Cruz in the reliably conservative bastion of Texas.
Their first ray of hope is the entry of three-term Rep. Beto O’Rourke — a 44-year-old former hard rock musician and internet entrepreneur who speaks fluent Spanish — into the race on Friday. Though Cruz is universally known, Democrats insist he’s not invincible, pointing to the first-term Republican’s poor polling numbers and prolonged focus on running for president.
And they say O'Rourke is formidable enough that they can make a case to donors that they actually have a shot at winning the state — and the Senate overall.
“People want to win and they want to play offense. And Texas represents that,” O’Rourke said in an interview earlier this month. “Texas is how you win back the Senate.”
For the first time in several election cycles, control of the Senate is not up for grabs barring a massive anti-Republican wave. Already facing a four-seat deficit, Democrats have to defend 25 seats, including five in conservative states that voted overwhelmingly for Trump last year and five more that he carried by a narrower margin.