O'Rourke falls to Cruz despite $70M fundraising windfall

Democratic Rep. Beto O’Rourke’s bid to unseat incumbent Republican Sen. Ted Cruz in Texas fell short on Tuesday despite a fundraising effort that raised a record-setting amount of campaign donations.

O’Rourke raised more than $70 million during the heated Senate race, including more than $38 million from the July to September campaign period alone. That total shattered the U.S. Senate’s existing fundraising record and easily surpassed Cruz’s fundraising effort, which produced roughly $40 million.

“This was an election about hope and about the future, and the people of Texas rendered a verdict that we want a future with more jobs and more security and more freedom,” Cruz told supporters after defeating O’Rourke.

The race was the most expensive in the U.S. Senate’s history and the first to surpass $100 million in total fundraising. With 87 percent of precincts reporting, Cruz earned about 51 percent of the vote, while O’Rourke earned about 48 percent of roughly 7 million ballots cast.

A member of the U.S. House of Representatives since 2013, O’Rourke visited all 254 Texas counties ahead of Election Day to drum up support to unseat Cruz, the longtime senator and former presidential candidate. O’Rourke supported various progressive initiatives, including the implementation of universal health care and looser immigration laws.

O’Rourke’s campaign drew support from various celebrity figures, including singer Beyoncé, NBA star LeBron James and country music legend Willie Nelson. In turn, Cruz garnered praise from President Trump, who referred to his former political rival as “Beautiful Ted” in the days ahead of the vote.