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The Texas Senate Race Between Rep. Beto O’Rourke and Sen. Ted Cruz Is Now a ‘Toss Up’

September 21, 2018, 1:55 PM UTC

U.S. Representative Beto O’Rourke (D) is gaining steam on incumbent Senator Ted Cruz (R) in the race for one of Texas’ Senate seats.

In recent weeks, several public polls have shown O’Rourke inching ever closer to Cruz. As of Friday, there is yet another indication that O’Rourke could have a fighting chance come November: the Cook Political Report updated its rating for the race, moving it from leans Republican to toss-up.

Authors of the report did not provide an explanation behind the ratings change, but it is likely due to the gains O’Rourke has seen over his opponent. But the picture still isn’t entirely clear: while a Reuters/Ipsos/UVA poll this week found O’Rourke to be ahead 47% to 45%, a Quinnipiac survey put Cruz ahead, 54% to 45%. An average of polls puts Cruz 4.5 points ahead of O’Rourke.

Nevertheless, one thing remains true—O’Rourke, a candidate who was largely unknown outside of Texas just a few months ago, has created a national name for himself and seen increasing momentum behind him ever since. According to data compiled by The Texas Tribune, O’Rourke raised $23.6 million to Cruz’s $15.6 million between January of last year and July 31. With that figure, O’Rourke has raised more than any other Democratic Senate candidate this election cycle.

O’Rourke and Cruz are due to face off in their first debate on Friday.