El Paso congressman appears ready to announce challenge to Cruz

House Speaker Paul Ryan of Wis. administers the House oath of office to Rep. Beto O'Rourke, D-Texas, during a mock swearing in ceremony on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, Jan. 3, 2017, as the 115th Congress began. (AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana)

WASHINGTON (AP/KXAN) — U.S. Rep. Beto O’Rourke, D-El Paso, says he is planning a campaign announcement Friday amid reports he will challenge GOP Sen. Ted Cruz for re-election next year.

O’Rourke declined to confirm a report in the Houston Chronicle that he will run, saying he wants to share the news with Texans first. But he insisted that Cruz is beatable despite his high name ID and his national profile.

O’Rourke also said he has spoken with Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer of New York, who oversees the party’s recruitment efforts.

The 44-year-old three-term House member would come in as an underdog in Republican-leaning Texas, where Cruz won 56 percent of the vote in his first Senate election in 2012.

O’Rourke recently got attention for a road trip with Republican Rep. Will Hurd.

O’Rourke isn’t the only congressman considering going up against Cruz. In February, Rep. Joaquin Castro, D-San Antonio, said he will announce his plans for 2018 later this spring.

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