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Ted Cruz faces new Senate challenge as Democrat attracts huge fundraising haul

The Texas Republican senator Ted Cruz spent time last weekend hobnobbing with Liz Truss, the shortest-serving British prime minister – but news closer to home suggested he might have reason to fear for his own job security.

As reported by the Dallas Morning News and the Texas Tribune, the Democratic congressman Colin Allred, Cruz’s most likely opponent for re-election next year, reported $10.9m raised since declaring his candidacy in May.

Ex-NFL player Colin Allred launches challenge to Ted Cruz for Senate seatRead more

That was nearly 20 times as much as Allred’s closest Democratic rival, but it was also, the papers said, almost $2m more than fundraising reported by Cruz in the same period.

The hard-right Republican – who was elected to the Senate in 2012, prompted a government shutdown in 2013 and ran for president in 2016 – reportedly raised $8.8m in the same period.

In an email to the Guardian, a spokesperson for Cruz contested the reported figures, pointing to a Fox News report earlier in October which said the senator “brought in $5.4m during the July-September third quarter of 2023 fundraising … up from the $4.4m he raised during the April-June second quarter of fundraising and the $1.8m he brought in during the first three months of 2023.

“… The Cruz campaign says they entered October with over $6.7m cash on hand.”

Either way, Allred, a former Tennessee Titans NFL linebacker elected to Congress from his native Dallas in 2018, presents a formidable figure.

Revelling in the show of fundraising muscle, Allred’s campaign manager, Paige Hutchinson, told the Texas Tribune: “Texans’ enthusiasm to retire Ted Cruz – and to elect Colin Allred to the Senate – is reflected in this quarter’s amazing outpouring of grassroots support.”

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Allred does seem set to breeze to victory in the Democratic primary and therefore advance to challenge Cruz. His party, however, has had its hopes dashed in Texas before.

In 2018, Beto O’Rourke, then a congressman, mounted a strong challenge to Cruz but fell short. O’Rourke parlayed resulting prominence in national progressive circles into a campaign for president in 2020 but that and a run for governor of Texas two years later also ended in disappointment.

On Saturday, meanwhile, Cruz tweeted a photograph of himself with his wife, Heidi Cruz, and Truss.

Was a real pleasure to visit with @trussliz in Texas.

We are so grateful for our British friends and for strong leaders on the global stage who will champion conservative principles and defend Liberty. 🇺🇸 🇬🇧 🇺🇸 🇬🇧

— Ted Cruz (@tedcruz) October 14, 2023

“We are so grateful for our British friends and for strong leaders on the global stage who will champion conservative principles and defend liberty,” Cruz said.

Truss thanked the Cruzes for their “warm welcome in Houston” and said: “It’s vital that conservatives win the battle of ideas both in the US and UK. The time is now.”

Truss was prime minister for 49 days last September and October. Historically speaking, that made her the shortest-serving PM of all. In terms of pop culture, as promoted by the Daily Star, a tabloid newspaper, she lasted less time than a lettuce.