Rep. Colin Allred wins Democratic primary to take on Ted Cruz in Texas

Rep. Colin Allred will take on GOP Sen. Ted Cruz after he won Tuesday’s Democratic Senate primary, NBC News projects, setting up a key matchup in the fight for control of the Senate.

Allred bested a crowded field of nine Democrats to take on Cruz, who is a top target for Democrats this year as they are largely on defense as they fight to hold on to the Senate.

“I’ve always felt like we can’t afford six more years of Ted Cruz representing us in the Senate — six more years of somebody who abandons us when 30 million Texans are freezing in the dark, six more years as somebody who wants to have a nationwide abortion ban, six more years of someone who I think is only interested in themselves, and not all of us as Texans,” Allred said in an interview Tuesday.

In a statement following Tuesday’s primary, Cruz did not make mention of his newly minted opponent.

This is about Texas, about building bridges, fighting for our cadets, expanding highways, creating jobs, and protecting the state that we cherish so deeply,” Cruz said in the statement. “Never before has it been more important to unify and fight against the radical left who threaten to change what makes this state great.”

Allred’s top opponent for the Democratic nomination was state Sen. Roland Gutierrez, who represents the city of Uvalde, whose residents suffered through a tragic mass shooting at an elementary school in 2022. But Allred appeared poised to cross the majority-vote threshold to avoid a primary runoff.

Texas State Senator Roland Gutierrez (Yasin Ozturk / Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)

Texas State Senator Roland Gutierrez (Yasin Ozturk / Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)

Allred, first elected to the House in 2018 after he flipped a Dallas-area seat, has been viewed as a formidable Senate recruit, having posted strong fundraising numbers and already launched TV ads that were more focused on the general election than on Tuesday’s primary contest.

With Texas having the most restrictive abortion ban of the states hosting competitive Senate races this year, Allred has focused much of his early messaging on abortion. Democrats believe the issue could help propel them to victory in a state they have long argued is trending in their direction.

Former President Donald Trump won Texas by nearly 6 points in 2020, following a 9-point win in 2016. And Cruz won a close re-election race in 2018 by nearly 3 points, defeating then-Rep. Beto O’Rourke.

Texas could be a key race in the fight for the Senate. Republicans need a net gain of just two seats to take control of the chamber, or one seat if Republicans win the White House, because the vice president casts tiebreaking votes in the Senate.

And while the presidential race will loom large in November, Allred has drawn some distinctions from Biden, siding with Republicans to support a resolution criticizing the administration’s policies surrounding the U.S.-Mexico border.

“I was saying we need to get some urgency around this. And I thought the status quo was unacceptable,” Allred said of his vote in the interview.

Allred declined to directly answer whether he would campaign with Biden.

“This is going to be about Texans talking to Texans, neighbors talking to neighbors,” he said. “We’re picking a senator who will serve us for the next six years past the term of the next presidency. And so, you know, listen, anybody’s welcome to come, but my message will stay the same, which is that I’m focused on Texas.”

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