Texas Sen. Ted Cruz projected to win despite excitement over Beto O'Rourke

Ted Cruz is on track to keep his seat, ABC News can project based on exit polls.

November 6, 2018, 10:47 PM

All eyes were on the Texas Senate race as three-term Congressman Beto O’Rourke took on Republican incumbent Sen. Ted Cruz.

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.

PHOTO: Ted Cruz hugs his wife Heidi after declaring victory at their election night headquarters at the Hilton Post Oak in Houston, Texas, Nov. 6, 2018.
Ted Cruz hugs his wife Heidi after declaring victory at their election night headquarters at the Hilton Post Oak in Houston, Texas, Nov. 6, 2018.
Michael Wyke/EPA via Shutterstock

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.

PHOTO: Rep. Beto O'Rourke, the 2018 Democratic Candidate for the Senate in Texas, waves to supporters as he leaves a polling place with his family after voting, Nov. 6, 2018, in El Paso, Texas.
Rep. Beto O'Rourke, the 2018 Democratic Candidate for the Senate in Texas, waves to supporters as he leaves a polling place with his family after voting, Nov. 6, 2018, in El Paso, Texas.
Eric Gay/AP

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.

PHOTO: Rep. Beto O'Rourke kisses his wife, Amy Sanders, at his election night party, Nov. 6, 2018, in El Paso, Texas
Rep. Beto O'Rourke kisses his wife, Amy Sanders, at his election night party, Nov. 6, 2018, in El Paso, Texas.
Eric Gay/AP

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.

PHOTO: Ted Cruz addresses his supporters to declare victory at their election night headquarters at the Hilton Post Oak in Houston, Texas, Nov. 6, 2018.
Ted Cruz addresses his supporters to declare victory at their election night headquarters at the Hilton Post Oak in Houston, Texas, Nov. 6, 2018.
Michael Wyke/EPA via Shutterstock

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.

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