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Sen. Cruz, Democratic challenger O'Rourke secure party nominations in Texas primary

12 March 2018

Overall, Republican voters outnumbered Democrats, giving Cruz 1.3 million votes, compared to the 641,000 O'Rourke received from Democrats.

Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, went on offense in the wake of Texas primary victory on Tuesday and released an ad targeting his Democratic challenger in a country jingle that warns, "If you're going to run in Texas, you can't be a liberal, man".

CNN's Chris Cuomo confronted Cruz about the snarky lyrics on Tuesday night. Mr. O'Rourke owned up that he tried to go by Robert as a student at Columbia University, but when his friends found out that he was known as Beto, that name stuck.

Cruz agreed, saying he was named after his father, also Rafael Cruz, a Cuban immigrant.

Mr. Cruz told "New Day" on CNN: "In terms of the jingle, some of it is just having a sense of humor".

O'Rourke said he has gone by Beto since he was born, telling the news outlet that "its kind of a nickname for Robert in El Paso".

"I am really happy with whatever anyone calls me", Mr. O'Rourke said in an interview.

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But O'Rourke has outraised Cruz in recent months and Democratic turnout for Tuesday's primaries was the highest its been since 2002.

O'Rourke said that Texans want stricter gun-control measures such as "comprehensive universal background checks" and that the Lone Star State should lead on gun-control legislation.

"We can get into name-calling and talk about why the other person is such an terrible guy, or we can focus on the big things that we want to do for the future of our country, for the generations that will succeed us", he said.

"The voters of Texas will have a clear choice in November".

Hernandez managed to win almost 250,000 votes despite raising less than $9,000 for her campaign, compared to O'Rourke's 637,000 votes after raising several million dollars. If O'Rourke does indeed win, it will be a milestone for the blue party as the last time Texas had a Democratic senator, in the form of Lloyd Bentsen, was three decades ago.

The candidate speaks fluent Spanish and often talks about how he took his wife over the border to Juarez, Mexico on their first date.