Texas Republican Ted Cruz won re-election to a second term in the Senate, beating off Democratic challenger Beto O´Rourke in one of America´s most expensive and closely watched midterm races, US news networks projected Tuesday.
Cruz — a 47-year-old who battled President Donald Trump for the 2016 Republican presidential nomination — overcame major deficits in fundraising to ultimately defeat his charismatic rival, whose campaign electrified Democrats across the country and was backed by a galaxy of stars from Beyonce to Jim Carrey and LeBron James.
A win for O´Rourke, 46, a three-time congressman and former punk rocker whose given names are Robert Francis but who goes by Beto, would have amounted to a political earthquake in the reliably Republican “Lone Star State,” but he ultimately fell short.
Cruz´s campaign meanwhile was given a late boost by his former rival Trump, who belatedly stumped for the Cuban American two weeks before the vote.
During the 2016 campaign, Trump infamously insulted the looks of Cruz´s wife Heidi, vaguely suggested Cruz´s father had played a role in John F Kennedy´s assassination and tagged him with the nickname “Lyin´ Ted” — an insult used by O´Rourke.
Cruz´s victory represented a significant boost for the Republican party as it looked set to retain control of the upper chamber of Congress.