Ted Cruz

Ted Cruz

Republican Sen. Ted Cruz held on to win a second term in office Tuesday night, beating out Democratic challenger Beto O’Rourke in one of the most closely-watched senate races this year.

Cruz, who ran in the Republican primary for president in 2016, won 51.1 percent of the vote, while O’Rourke, a congressman from El Paso, won 48.2 percent.

Cruz’s victory helped the Republicans retain control of the senate.

Cruz’s election to the senate six years ago was propelled by Tea Party activism, and since then, the former state solicitor general has made opposition to the Affordable Care Act his signature position.

In 2013 he led a shut-down of the federal government in an effort to defund President Barack Obama’s healthcare legislation, and last year voted to repeal the program.

O’Rourke, who campaigned in all 254 counties in the state, ran on issues such as expanding Medicaid, stricter gun laws, immigration reform and combatting climate change. He gained nationwide attention after a video of him speaking in support of NFL players kneeling for the National Anthem went viral.

The congressman also refused to take any money from political action committees, yet raised a record-breaking $70 million, the most of any Senate candidate in history, all from individual donors.

Cruz, meanwhile, raised $30 million.

Despite the dominance of the Republican Party in Texas — Donald Trump won the state by nine points in 2016 — O’Rourke earned endorsements from the Houston Chronicle and the Dallas Morning News.

Laker LeBron James also endorsed O’Rourke before an October game against the San Antonio Spurs.

Cruz won the endorsement of President Trump, who held a rally for him weeks before election day. The two had previously been at odds in the 2016 Republican primary, during which Trump insulted Cruz’s wife’s appearance and linked Cruz’s father to the killing of President John F. Kennedy.

Cruz called Trump a “sniveling coward” and a “pathological liar.”

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