AUSTIN (AP) — Democratic U.S. Rep. Beto O’Rourke has formally begun his longshot bid to unseat Texas Republican Sen. Ted Cruz.
The former punk rocker made his 2018 Senate run official during an event in his hometown of El Paso Friday morning. O’Rourke’s own website unveiled a “Beto for Senate” logo about two hours before his scheduled announcement.
“I’m running to represent the great state of Texas in the U.S. Senate,” he said to an energetic crowd. He noted that El Paso is a city of immigrants and among the safest in the nation despite bordering Mexico
Cruz finished second to Donald Trump in last year’s GOP presidential primary and remains powerful in Texas, which hasn’t elected a Democrat to statewide office since 1994.
The 44-year-old O’Rourke once played guitar for a punk band called Foss.
Before challenging Cruz, O’Rourke may have to emerge from a Democratic Senate primary that could feature fellow U.S. Rep. Joaquin Castro, who has stronger name recognition across Texas.