A Democrat hasn’t won a statewide office in Texas in 30 years but Cruz won by just 2.5 percent in 2018.
Allred had been rumored to be running for the office and wasted no time attacking Cruz in his announcement video. Allred begins by focusing on the Jan. 6 U.S. Capitol riot and showing a clip of Cruz rallying supporters a couple days before the event. He also takes aim at Cruz fleeing the state for Cancun during the historic winter freeze and grid failure in 2021 when roughly 250 people died.
SMU political science professor Cal Jillson says Democrats feel targeting Cruz may be their best chance to win a statewide office for the first time in 30 years.
“Ted Cruz is an acquired taste,” Jillson said. “Even some republicans don’t like him, particularly they’re sometimes embarrassed by him, sometimes think that he’s so focused on ideology that he’s not watching what’s going on here in Texas.”
Kimi Lynn King follows and teaches Texas politics as a professor at the University of North Texas. She says money and name recognition have to be the two focuses for Allred if he’s going to have any chance of beating Cruz.
“What Beto O’Rourke had was the fundraising machine,” King said.
O’Rouke came within 2.5% of beating Cruz in 2018, which some political researchers felt forecasted Texas was turning purple. In 2022, though, republicans beat democrats handily across the state, including O’Rouke’s 11% defeat to Greg Abbott.
“He needs to look at the O’Rourke ground game for being able to turn out the vote,” King said. “They’re going to have to remember all of their urban areas. In fact, they’re going to have to get out of their comfort areas in Dallas and move around the state.”
“I think the odds are long but they’re not zero,” Jillson said. “Colin Allred is unknown except in his one district, so he’s got to introduce himself to much of Texas.”
Cruz’s team shared a statement Wednesday following Allred’s announcement.
“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. Thankfully, the Lone Star State has a tireless champion in Sen. Ted Cruz. For over a decade, Sen. Cruz has been leading the fight for jobs, freedom, and security in Texas. As Senator for Texas, Sen. Cruz will continue to do everything he can to bring more jobs to Texas, fight out-of-control government spending, and support the oil and gas industry from the attacks of Democrats like Joe Biden and Colin Allred.” – Cruz spokesperson Nick Maddux
The statement isn’t accurate. Allred has voted with Pelosi about 85% of the time according to ProPublica. Most notably, he sided with Republicans to block noncitizens from voting in Washington D.C. elections and with them again in blocking the US from selling petroleum from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve to entities under Chinese Communist Party control.
He also hasn’t voted for legislation to take away guns, but did support the bipartisan Safer Communities Act following the Uvalde Massacre which extended background checks to buyers under 21, provided state funding for red flag laws and made it more difficult for domestic abusers to have access to firearms even when they aren’t married, known as the “boyfriend loophole”
Allred’s video message also includes claims Cruz would dispute.
Cruz has denied hiding in a supply closet during the U.S. Capitol riot. He also denies wanting to cut social security and Medicaid but has advocated for limiting social security eligibility and benefits.
Jillson and King expect Cruz to work to paint Allred as a far-left Democrat and for Allred’s campaign to focus on Cruz’s character and past in hopes some Republicans will vote Democrat or stay home.
“If he has a path, that path is not running far left,” Jillson said. “That path is running up the middle.”
Jillson also questions how well a Black candidate will do statewide in Texas, looking at past races where they’ve unperformed — including in 2020 when Dallas State Sen. Royce West wasn’t able to win the Democratic party nomination.
“Is Texas prepared to vote for a Black candidate for the United States Senate?” Jill posed. “We’ll find out the answer to that.”
“Some people say a Democrat can’t win in Texas,” Allred says in the end of his video. “Well, someone like me was never supposed to get this far.”