$61 million was spent to help Rep. Robert O’Rourke unseat Senator Ted Cruz to no avail.

Cruz barely carved out a win. In Texas.

From the NYT:

Like most of the country, O’Rourke’s support was largely urban as the electoral map (from the NYT) shows:

Local Democrats hitched their wagons to O’Rourke’s and managed to unseat a handful of longtime Republicans, included Rep. Culberson in TX-7, President HW Bush’s old district.

I still don’t think O’Rourke ever planned to win but rather that the race was one to create a fundraising infrastructure for future elections and to fine-tune voter data.

Cruz lost a lot of political capital when he ran for President and was subsequently critical of Trump, effectively splitting his support base in two, disappointing most of his loyal supporters. He struggles with relatability and likeability, but none of that mattered in 2012. He won handily in a practically uncontested race.

Texas has also experienced an influx of blue state refugees, which has purpled Texas’ once bright red hue. Voters turned out en masse to support O’Rourke, the first Democrat with a prayer of making an electoral dent and down ballot races benefited.

Regardless, 2.5 points in a midterm, in Texas, is waaaaaayyyy too close for comfort. O’Rourke may not be joining the upper chamber in January, but he successfully unsettled Texas Republicans.