The 45-year-old Democratic hopeful garnered national attention for his candid campaign style: he broke the record for fundraising for a U.S. Senate candidate in a single quarter, raking in $38.1 million for his campaign from July through September.
Despite the attention, Cruz is on track to win the senate seat in Texas, ABC News can project based on exit polls.
O’Rourke grew up in a political family in El Paso. His father held various local government seats, including county commissioner and county judge, according to the Dallas News. O’Rourke followed those footsteps after attending Columbia University and returning to El Paso.
He hadn't lost a political race thus far, winning seats twice on the El Paso City Council and three times in the U.S. House.
His appeal, for some, is rooted in his laid-back demeanor.
O’Rourke rides his skateboard into rallies, sweats through all of his T-shirts and livestreams videos of himself jamming to "The Who" after his senatorial debates. He may be a career politician, but he's tried to craft himself for a new era of voters and politics in America.
O’Rourke embraced the progressive agenda from the beginning. According to the Dallas News, O’Rourke recruited progressives for a liberal city council, aiming to work on issues like urban sprawl and development.
O’Rourke has been candid about his 1998 DWI charge, saying in an August 2017 interview with the Palestine Herald-Press, “I have no excuse for my behavior then. However, since then, I have used my opportunities to serve my community and my state. I’m grateful for the second chance and believe we all deserve second chances.”
He pinned his platform on education reform, health care, and immigration.
His steadfast embrace of the non-traditional built him a strong base, but in a deep-red state with a powerful incumbent, he encountered pushback from a conservative-leaning electorate. Recent polls showed him falling behind Cruz in a large single-digit lead.
O'Rourke signaled his intention to continue his fight to turn the seat blue, saying that he would not share the millions he raised in the third quarter with other candidates, in hopes of closing the widening gap between him and Cruz.