Politics

Cruz Supporters Say O’Rourke Is a ‘Wakeup Call’

‘No room for complacency at this point,’ GOP fundraiser says of Senate race

Supporters of Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, are beginning to build up a defense of the Texas senator as he faces a strong challenge from Democratic Rep. Beto O’Rourke. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Supporters of Sen. Ted Cruz are re-evaluating the Republican incumbent’s strategy as he faces a strong challenge from Democratic Rep. Beto O’Rourke.

“It’s a wakeup call that we can’t take this race for granted,” Texas Republican fundraiser Mica Mosbacher told the Houston Chronicle. “There’s no room for complacency at this point.”

Concerns come as President Donald Trump pledged last week to campaign for Cruz in October. Polls suggest a tight race, with the latest one from Emerson College showing the incumbent leading the challenger by a single percentage point, 38 percent to 37 percent.

O’Rourke outraised Cruz in the firsttwo quarters of 2018

“Who would have expected a challenger to be able to out-raise the incumbent senator, Senator Cruz,” said Texas’ senior Sen. John Cornyn, also a Republican. “But Senator Cruz, I think, will be adequately funded as well.”

Conservative group the Club for Growth announced this week it would begin a seven-figure campaign against the Democratic challenger.

Cruz’s pollster Chris Wilson said O’Rourke is vulnerable for taking liberal positions like supporting NFL players who kneel during the National Anthem to protest police violence against African-Americans.

Wilson said O’Rourke’s strategy is akin to Cruz trying to win a race in a Democratic state like Massachusetts “as far as he can to the right.”

“This guy is coming down on the wrong side of every single issue when it comes to the state of Texas,” Wilson told the Chronicle.

But some Republicans are not as worried about O’Rourke or the idea that Cruz is in any kind of trouble.

“Cruz will win by double digits. There just aren’t enough Democrats. To get it even close in Texas, they need to win all of the independents and some Republicans, and they’re just not going to do it,” Republican fundraiser Doug Deason said.

Inside Elections with Nathan L. Gonzales rates Texas’ Senate race as Likely Republican

Watch: House Ratings Change in Favor of Democrats

Get breaking news alerts and more from Roll Call on your iPhone or your Android.