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Here are the candidates running for U.S. Senate in Texas in November

October 3, 2018

The race between Republican incumbent Sen. Ted Cruz and Democratic Congressman Beto O’Rourke has become one of the most watched contests in the nation this election season. O’Rourke, an El Paso congressman since 2012, has built a surprisingly strong campaign in a state that hasn’t elected a Democrat to statewide office since 1994.

Polls have shown a closer race than many expected at the start of the year. In the first half of 2018, O’Rourke managed to raise more than twice as much campaign money as Cruz, the runner-up to Trump for the 2016 GOP nomination for president.

The Cruz-O’Rourke race has national impact as Republicans try to hold onto their slim majority in the U.S. Senate.

View each candidate’s profile below. Study the issues, hear from the candidates and research what’s on the ballot with our Voter Guide on HoustonChronicle.com.

Beto O’Rourke

Party: Democrat

Age: 46

Hometown: El Paso, Texas

Bio: Fourth-generation Texan born and raised in El Paso. Graduated from Columbia University with a degree in English and worked in New York before moving back to El Paso to start a technology company. Ran for El Paso City Council in 2005 and served two terms. Elected to U.S. Congress in 2012 and served on the House Committees for Armed Services and Veterans Affairs. Three children.

Issues: Opposes the border wall and has championed a path to citizenship for DACA recipients. Opposed GOP tax cuts. Supports universal background checks and a ban or restrictions on the sale of AR-15s and other assault-style rifles. Supports the Affordable Care Act and abortion rights.

Web: Beto for Texas Twitter: BetoORourke

Ask a question: Beto O’Rourke on Facebook

Finances: Raised more than $10.4 million during the first half of 2018, more than doubling the $4.6 million raised by Republican U.S. Sen Ted Cruz.

Chances: September polls showed O’Rourke trailing behind incumbent Ted Cruz by nearly a 10-point margin, but other polls have shown a closer race.

Surprise: In the early 1990s, O’Rourke toured the United States and Canada with his punk-rock band “Foss.”

Quote: “We are going to be not-against anyone. We’re not going to be against any party. We’re not going to be organized and animated against anything. We are going to be for one another. We’re going to be for the United States of America, for the great state of Texas, for the big bold ambitious things that we can only do together.”

Our coverage: Texas U.S. Sen. candidate Beto O’Rourke is throwing out the Democrat playbook for Texas with dozens of campaign trips to small towns in rural Texas. But will his work in far-flung Republican strongholds like Muleshoe, Archer City and Fort Davis pay off in November? Click here to read our full coverage.

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Ted Cruz

Party: Republican

Age: 47

Hometown: Houston, Texas

Bio: Father was tortured and imprisoned in Cuba and fled the United States to attend the University of Texas at Austin in 1957. Cruz earned a bachelor’s degree in public policy at Princeton University and went to Harvard Law School, where he won honors on the debate team. Worked as an attorney and served as an adviser on the 2000 presidential campaign of George W. Bush. Became the solicitor general of Texas after working as an associate deputy attorney general at the Department of Justice. Was an adjunct law professor at the University of Texas School of Law from 2004 to 2009. Went back into private practice before being elected to the Senate in 2012. Ran for the 2016 Republican presidential nomination. Two children.

Issues: Supports the border wall and has derided as “amnesty” any plan that gives legal status or citizenship to people living in the country illegally, such as the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program. Leading supporter of the Republican tax cut plan. Has resisted banning assault-style rifles, raising the age for buying long guns, and expanding background checks for firearms sales. Opposes the Affordable Care Act and abortion.

Web: Ted Cruz for Senate. Twitter: Ted Cruz

Ask a question: Ted Cruz on Facebook.

Finances: Raised $4.6 million during the first half of 2018, less than half of the $10.4 million raised by challenger Beto O’Rourke.

Chances: September polls showed Cruz leading O’Rourke by nearly a 10-point margin.

Surprise: Was an editor of the Harvard Law Review and founder of the Harvard Latino Law Review.

Quote: “I’ve got a responsibility, which is to fight for every person in this state. I have worked hand-in-hand with the President on substance. We have delivered remarkable victories. The biggest tax cuts of a generation. We’ve seen four million new jobs created since Trump was elected. Texans’ lives are better.”

Our coverage: U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz once Donald Trump’s biggest adversary now is singing Trump’s praises as he tries to win re-election in the Senate. Click here to read our full coverage.

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