Cook Political Report downgraded the Texas Senate race to “lean Republican,” a signal that incumbent Sen. Ted Cruz is in the political fight of his life in dead-red Texas against Democratic upstart Beto O’Rourke.
Cook cites the “unconventional yet successful campaign” of O’Rourke as a main reason for the downgrade from “likely Republican.” Though Cruz as a “conservative lightning rod” contributes to the rating change as well, Jennifer Duffy writes for Cook.
O’Rourke is “running a very modern campaign that thrives on social media” and has been a prolific fundraiser; O’Rourke’s war chest bested Cruz’s by roughly $4.5 million at the end of Q2, June 30.
Cook cites myriad polls that show Cruz leading but with margins that are closing. RealClearPolitics shows Cruz with a composite average lead of 6.5 points. RCP, too, rates the race “lean Republican.”
“Suffice it to say that O’Rourke has made incredible progress in a pretty red state, at least when it comes to running for statewide office. The race moves to Lean Republican. Whether it ever gets to Toss Up remains to be seen,” Duffy writes.
Sabato’s Crystal Ball still has the race “likely Republican.”
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