Democratic Rep. appears ready to announce challenge to Cruz

An unabashed liberal who cruised to election three times in a safe district - he participated in House Democrats' pro-gun control sit-in on the House floor in June of past year - Mr. O'Rourke faces an uphill battle in a statewide race in deep-red Texas. Ted Cruz is beatable.

O'Rourke is scheduled to make the announcement in his hometown of El Paso, which has represented in Congress since 2013, the Houston Chronicle reported.

But he sounded like a candidate as he spoke with several reporters at the Capitol, and several Democratic colleagues shouted encouragement as they passed by or even addressed O'Rourke as "senator". He has already filed papers to run for re-election, but his campaign spokeswoman declined comment on O'Rourke's plans. "He plans to make his decision in the coming weeks".

"People have just come to take it as an article of faith that a Democrat can't win", O'Rourke said in an interview this month, Politico reported. An ardent proponent of term limits for members of Congress, he self-imposed a limit of four terms on his time in the House, meaning he would not be running for reelection in 2020.

U.S. Rep. Robert "Beto" O'Rourke (D-El Paso), who recently made headlines for his livestream cross-country vehicle ride from San Antonio to Washington D.C. with U.S. Rep.

Cruz may also face a second Democratic challenger from U.S. Rep. Joaquin Castro (D-San Antonio) who was an early favorite to be Hillary Clinton's running mate in the 2016 presidential election. Will Hurd, a Republican, after their flights to Washington, D.C., were canceled in a snowstorm. The two lawmakers streamed their impromptu drive from Texas on Facebook Live, jamming to music and fielding public policy questions from viewers. Dean Heller of Nevada seen as the only truly vulnerable GOP incumbent, and it's not clear whether the party would devote many resources to O'Rourke's longshot bid.

  • Larry Hoffman