In a video posted to social media on Wednesday morning, Allred unveiled his bid to unseat Texas’ Republican junior senator. The campaign announcement dragged Cruz for stoking conspiracy theories that led to the attack on the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, and for jet-setting to Cancun while his constituents froze amid a record-breaking deadly winter storm.
Allred then explains in the ad that he never knew his dad and was raised by a single mother, who was a public school teacher working multiple jobs to make do. He credits his family, YMCA counselors and coaches for keeping him “on the right track” and said he learned important life lessons on the football field at Hillcrest High School in Dallas and at Baylor University.
Cruz puts himself before his constituents and works to divide instead of unite, Allred says in the roughly 3-minute spot.
“We don't have to be embarrassed by our senator. We can get a new one,” he says.
“Some people say a Democrat can’t win in Texas. Well, someone like me was never supposed to get this far,” Allred continues. “I've taken down a lot tougher guys than Ted Cruz. So let's get on the field and find out.”
If Allred is victorious in the Democratic primary for U.S. Senate, he’ll be faced with a bigger hurdle: unseating Cruz in a staunchly conservative Texas. The last time that Cruz’s job was up for grabs, in 2018, then-Democratic nominee Beto O’Rourke came within 3 points of success.
I’m running for U.S. Senate because Texans deserve a Senator whose team is Texas. Ted Cruz only cares about himself.— Colin Allred (@ColinAllredTX) May 3, 2023
Join our campaign today: https://t.co/2dROrrQrPV pic.twitter.com/9iz9yu1rFb
And even though many Texas Democrats are energized by Allred’s announcement, the congressman himself acknowledges that it could be a difficult match.
Allred today comes across fairly equally compared with where O’Rourke stood in 2018, before the latter’s subsequent failed bids for the presidency and Texas governor, said David Rausch, a political science professor at West Texas A&M University. Allred has an advantage given that he comes from the well-populated Dallas area, which boasts a sizable media market that he can tap into.
Still, Allred will need to introduce himself to other parts of the state and make inroads with Hispanic voters, Rausch said. Flipping Cruz’s seat will be tough.
“It’s not impossible, but it may be not the most possible outcome,” Rausch said before adding: “I wouldn’t bet on it.”
“We don't have to be embarrassed by our senator. We can get a new one.” – U.S. Rep. Colin Allredtweet this
Many Republicans will dismiss Allred outright because they refuse to vote for anyone on the other side of the aisle, Rausch continued. Allred's record of bipartisanship in Congress could potentially give him a boost, but it also may mean that he has to work harder to prove himself to progressive Democrats.
The Dallas County Democratic Party is excited to see Allred run, citing his “proven track record” of delivering results and connecting with Texas voters.
“He’s already proven that he’s capable of unseating a Republican incumbent, and he’ll be an exceptionally strong candidate in this race,” the county party said in a statement emailed to the Observer (Allred defeated incumbent Republican Pete Sessions to win his congressional seat in 2018.) “Ted Cruz doesn’t reflect Texas values, he doesn’t work for Texas voters, and he’d better be ready for some serious competition from the Democrats this time around.”
In response to Allred’s announcement, Cruz’s campaign touted the senator's efforts to fight for “jobs, freedom, and security in Texas.” Spokesperson Nick Maddux blasted Allred as a “far-left radical” whose voting record doesn’t align with the state’s values.
“Allred wants men to compete in women’s sports, isn’t serious about addressing the crisis at the border, wants to take away law-abiding Texans’ guns, and is soft on punishing murderers,” Maddux continued in the statement. “Bottom line, Allred is too extreme for Texas. Thankfully, the Lone Star State has a tireless champion in Sen. Ted Cruz.”
The Texas Democratic Party issued a statement on Wednesday congratulating Allred. Chairman Gilberto Hinojosa described him as someone who fights for everyday Texans.
Hinojosa then railed against Cruz, whose “spinelessness, lack of leadership, and cowering to special interest groups and rich donors have time and time again failed the working families of our state.” He added that although the party stays neutral in Democratic primaries, if Allred were to win the nomination, Cruz may need to pack his bags for Cancun once more.