Texas Senate race: Cruz takes a narrow victory in a contentious campaign

Despite a memorable campaign effort from Democrat Beto O’Rourke, Texas opted last week to re-elect incumbent Republican Ted Cruz.

Since 1993, Texas has been known as a predominantly ‘red state’ in Senate elections. Cruz was first elected in the senate in 2012 and has been there ever since.  Many Texans are justified their vote to “keep Texas red”,stealing a phrase used by Cruz himself.

“Together we will keep Texas bright bright red.” Cruz said i in the first debate.

O’Rourke has served in the House of Representatives since 2013. He is native to El Paso. With the recent shooting at the synagogue and variety of other high-profile mass shootings , gun control has become the topic of discussion. . O’Rourke and Cruz, unsurprisingly, have different perspectives on how to handle these issues.

“Our state should lead the way in preserving the Second Amendment while working together to ensure people can live without fear of gun violence in their communities,” O’Rourke’s campaign website states.

Cruz’s website takes a more pro-gun ownership stance, quoting NRA executive Vice President Wayne LaPierre’s endorsement of Cruz prominently.

Texan natives at Hendrix, generally skewing liberal, supported O’Rourke’s campaign vocally. Junior Samantha Johnson feels very passionate about what O’Rourkenhas brought to the table.

“He’s very involved and very present,” Johnson said. “He goes all around Texas and listens to everybody; I haven’t seen that same commitment from Cruz. Beto works way harder because he is earning his money from everyday people, and he’s on the road a lot. He’s very stable and not heavily influenced by people around him.”

Sophomore Ashlynn Fucello has similar thoughts Beto’s activism versus Cruz’s in this campaign.

“He has put in no effort to try and get the vote. That’s not the way it should work. They [candidates] should be putting in effort to talk to the people they are representatives for and figure out what they want, why they want it, and how you can better work to go towards that,” Fucello said.

Given the close margins of the election, it is not surprising to learn that there was some animosity between Cruz supporters and O’Rourke supporters.

“I live in the red part of the state; people have stolen my families yard signs,” Johnson said. “My step dad worked on the campaign for Bernie and our Bernie sign was constantly stolen–our Beto one was. Some newspaper in Texas said Beto is best for all Texas and Cruz is best for some Texas. I’ve seen signs that say, ‘Republicans for Beto.’ If people are willing to abandon their party because a candidate seems more qualified, that shows some promise.”

Fuccello brings a different Texan perspective. Fuccello was born and raised in Austin, Texas, long identified as a liberal bastion in the red state.

“There’s a very large percentage of people in Texas who lean towards agreeing with the democratic party, but due to gerrymandering, their voices are not heard,” Fucello said. “In city representatives, Austin should have a democratic representative, but the area has been split into five different voting districts. We end up with representatives that don’t express [our] beliefs. This is my personal experience; I do come from an area in Texas that is more liberal than the rest.”

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