Cruz holds off O’Rourke to keep Senate seat

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Republican Sen. Ted Cruz declared victory Tuesday evening after a hard fought contest with Democrat Beto O’Rourke.

Cruz, who was outspent by O’Rourke, was leading 51-48 with 80 percent of votes counted.

“My responsibility is to represent every Texan,” said Cruz in his acceptance speech. “This election wasn’t about me and it wasn’t about Beto O’Rourke. This election was a battle of ideas…and the people of Texas decided this race.”

O’Rourke, who was trying to become the first Democrat elected to the Senate in 30 years, claimed the votes in urban areas like Houston, Dallas and Austin. “This loss does nothing to diminish how I feel about Texas or this country,” O’Rourke said in his concession speech.

During his concession speech O’Rourke encouraged a less polarized Texas and America. “I will work with him or with anyone, anytime, anywhere, to make sure that the same way you have been there for us, we will be there for you. Not as Republicans or Democrats, but as Texans and Americans.”

Texas displayed unprecedented energy this midterm election, with early voter turnout exceeding the state’s total turnout in the 2014 midterm elections — even rivaling voter turnout in the 2016 presidential election.