Former Punk Rocker Enters Race to Bring Down Ted Cruz
Rep. Beto O'Rourke might be the Democrats' best hope in 2018
By Michael Harthorne,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 31, 2017 12:59 PM CDT
Rep. Beto O'Rourke, a three-term, fluent Spanish-speaker, announced Friday his bid to unseat Texas Republican Sen. Ted Cruz in 2018.   (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster, File)

(Newser) – Texas hasn't elected a Democrat to the US Senate in 30 years, the Austin American-Statesman reports. Beto O'Rourke wants to end that drought—by taking down Sen. Ted Cruz. The US representative from El Paso officially entered the race against the former presidential candidate Friday. O'Rourke isn't well known outside West Texas, but that's probably about to change. Politico describes him as a "44-year-old former hard rock musician and internet entrepreneur." O'Rourke used to play guitar for a punk rock band that included a future member of Grammy-winning band The Mars Volta, the Dallas Morning News reports. O'Rourke also wrote a book advocating for the legalization of marijuana and is described as "free-spirited."

Democrats pretty much need O'Rourke to unseat Cruz to have any hope of taking control of the Senate in 2018. And that's a whole lot easier said than done. Texas' other GOP senator, John Cornyn, says O'Rourke is on a "suicide mission." And Texas' GOP spokesperson summed up his feelings in one word: "Who?" But O'Rourke isn't discouraged. "I’m under no illusions this will be anything but hard," he tells the Morning News. "Nothing I’ve ever done that’s amounted to anything has been easy." O'Rourke plans to win by doing what he's already been doing: traveling around, especially to Republican strongholds, and listening to voters. He tells the American-Statesman he wants to "learn from people ... everywhere because everyone deserves something better."

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