U.S. Rep. Beto O’Rourke, D-Texas, announced Friday he will challenge incumbent U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz in 2018 to resurge the Texas Democratic Party.
O’Rourke, a technology entrepreneur in his third term of representing District 16, made the announcement in his hometown of El Paso that he will challenge the conservative leader. O’Rourke said he is for pro-immigration rights in contrast to Cruz’s push for an immigration crackdown.
“We also need a senator who’s going to … fight when necessary against a president who’s focused on building walls or conducting military-style immigrant roundups,” O’Rourke said. “We need to meet this fear, this anxiety, this paranoia that’s coming out of the White House and gripping so much of this country.”
O’Rourke hinted his challenge over the last few months as well as U.S. Rep. Joaquin Castro, D-San Antonio, the other high-profile democrat vying for Cruz’s seat. Matthew Dowd, a former George W. Bush strategist, said in January he is considering entering the race but has not made any announcements since then.
O’Rourke said some Texans disapproved Cruz’s recent bid for the presidency which distracted him from leading as a congressman.
“All these opportunities and commitments, we’re not going to be able to meet them, we’re not going to be able to fulfill them unless we have a senator who’s working full-time for Texas,” O’Rourke said. “A senator who is not using this position of responsibility and power to serve his own interests to run for president.”
O’Rourke said he would commit himself to a two-term limit, improve veteran programs and utilize the technology sector to strengthen the economy.
This month, O’Rourke went on a two-day road trip with U.S. Rep. Will Hurd, R-Texas, to Washington D.C. in an bipartisan effort. After the trip, Hurd co-sponsored O’Rourke’s bill that would let families to ask a federal judge if they may re-enter the states if they were initially barred for technical issues.