Sen. Ted Cruz lands his first major Democratic challenger in 2024 re-election bid

Saying that “we don’t have to be embarrassed by our senator. We can get a new one,” professional football player-turned Texas Rep. Colin Allred launched a 2024 Democratic Senate challenge on Wednesday against conservative firebrand Sen. Ted Cruz. Allred, a former NFL linebacker who later worked in President Obama’s administration before defeating Republican Rep. Pete Sessions in 2018 in Texas’s 32nd Congressional District, which includes parts of the city of Dallas and its northeastern suburbs, becomes the first major Democrat to jump into the Senate race against Cruz, who is running for a third six-year term representing Texas. Announcing his candidacy in a video posted to social media, Allred showed video clips of the violent Jan. 6, 2021 attack on the U.S. Capitol by right wing agitators and other supporters of then-President Trump who aimed to disrupt congressional certification of President Biden’s 2020 election victory.  “I remember hearing the glass break and the shouts coming closer. I texted my wife, ‘Whatever happens, I love you.’ Then I took off my jacket and got ready to take on anyone who came through that door,” Allred says in the video. CRUZ TELLS FOX NEWS HIS 2024 RE-ELECTION WILL BE A ‘FIREFIGHT’ Allred slammed Cruz for voting against certifying the election results, adding “he cheered on the mob,” and then “hid in a supply cabinet when they stormed the Capitol.” Allred argued “that’s Ted for you: All hat, no cattle.” Allred also spotlighted Cruz’s controversy from 2021, when he was heavily criticized and mocked after flying off to join his family in Cancun, Mexico while “Texans were freezing in the dark” after massive power outages due to winter storms. He highlighted his humble roots, noting that he was a “working class kid raised by a single mom,” before charging that “the struggles of regular Texans just don’t interest” Cruz. BLUE TO RED: FOUR SENATE SEATS THE GOP AIMS TO FLIP IN 2024 TO WIN BACK THE MAJORITY Cruz’s 2024 re-election campaign quickly fired back. “Democrats have once again turned to a far-left radical to run for Senate. Not only does Colin Allred vote with Nancy Pelosi 100% of the time, but his voting record is completely out-of-touch with Texas. Allred wants men to compete in women’s sports, isn’t serious about addressing the crisis at the border, wants to take away law-abiding Texans’ guns, and is soft on punishing murderers. Bottom line, Allred is too extreme for Texas,” campaign spokesman Nick Maddux claimed in a statement Allred, a member of the House Democratic leadership team, is a prolific fundraiser and had nearly $2 million in his campaign coffers at the start of the year. He will need plenty of resources in his 2024 Senate bid to take on Cruz, who had over $3.3 million cash on hand at the start of the new cycle. Cruz, the 2016 GOP presidential nomination runner-up to Trump, survived a tough re-election in 2018 against then-Rep. Beto O’Rourke. However, ousting Cruz in a reliably red state that Trump carried by six points in 2020 and where longtime GOP Gov. Greg Abbott crushed O’Rourke by 11 points last year will be a tall order. “Some people say a Democrat can’t win in Texas,” Allred said in his campaign launch video. “Well, someone like me was never supposed to get this far. I’ve taken down a lot of tougher guys than Ted Cruz. So let’s get on the field and find out.” Philip Letsou, a spokesman for the National Republican Senatorial Committee — the campaign arm of the Senate GOP — predicted that “just like Beto O’Rouke before him, Colin Allred is going to quickly regret giving up is safe House seat to run yet another doomed, Democrat vanity campaign in Texas.” Allred may not have the field to himself in the race for the Democratic Senate nomination in Texas. State Sen. Roland Gutierrez, who represents the town of Uvalde, is mulling a bid. Outgoing Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner is also seen as a possible candidate. Democrats flipped a GOP held Senate seat in Pennsylvania in last November’s midterm elections, and they currently hold a 51-49 majority in the chamber, which includes three independent senators who caucus with the Democratic conference. That means Republicans need a net gain of just one or two seats in 2024 to win back the majority, depending on which party controls the White House after next year’s presidential election. The math and the map favor the GOP in 2024. Democrats are defending 23 of the 34 seats up for grabs, including three in red states and a handful in key general election battlegrounds.
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