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Republican Ted Cruz of Texas is projected to win re-election to a second term in the U.S. Senate, emerging victorious from the toughest political fight of his career, according to NBC News.
Cruz overcame significant deficits in fundraising and enthusiasm to defeat Democratic Rep. Beto O'Rourke in one of the most closely watched races in the country.
Texas is solidly Republican statewide, but in O'Rourke Cruz was confronted with a telegenic young opponent who electrified Democrats nationwide.
Despite trailing Cruz in the polls throughout the race, O'Rourke's campaign raised a record-setting $60 million through the end of September, nearly three times as much money as Cruz's campaign raised.
Cruz also had to contend with the ghosts of his failed 2016 Republican presidential primary campaign, most notably the lingering animosity between him and President Donald Trump, the result of a particularly nasty fight for the nomination.
Even though Cruz was struggling all summer and fall to energize voters this cycle, Trump waited until late in October to come to Texas and hold a rally for Cruz.
Returning Cruz to the Senate provides Trump with a reliable Republican vote to back his policies and confirm his judicial nominees. But few election observers harbor any illusions about whether this race will change the fundamental dynamic between the two men.
In the end, however, it was the map and the math that ensured Cruz's victory. Texas is a Republican trifecta, meaning Republicans hold the governorship as well as majorities in both of the state's legislative chambers.
In 2012, the year Cruz was elected, Mitt Romney won the state by 16 points. Four years later, Trump won Texas by 9 points.