On Wednesday, Rep. Colin Allred launched his bid for a promotion from the U.S. House to the U.S. Senate with a powerful launch ad that took the fight directly to incumbent Senator Ted Cruz, and voters and activists responded by propelling Allred to an epic $2 million fundraising haul in his first 36 hours as a candidate.
That’s a staggering amount of money for a candidate that Cruz is desperately training to paint as an inexperienced upstart and signals that the race for U.S. Senate in 2024 could become one of the marquee races in the nation.
Allred’s $2 million haul is impressive by any measure but is particularly exciting for Texas Democrats because Allred, who first won his House seat in 2018, outraised Cruz’s first-quarter performance by at least half a million dollars.
Cruz, who has served in the Senate as one of the most outlandish conservative members since 2013 and sought the presidency in 2016, could only muster a little over $1.5 million dollars, spread across his re-election campaign and allied committees. Only $1.2 million of that money is in Cruz’s actual Senate campaign account, which had just over $3 million on hand when the campaign filed its most recent campaign finance disclosure.
That is, frankly, bonkers. Allred’s congressional campaign account, which had a little over $2 million available at the end of March according to FEC filings, can immediately be tapped for his Senate race, which means Allred has effectively already taken a fundraising lead over Cruz.
That isn’t just big news in the Lone Star State. As national Democrats grapple with an incredibly difficult Senate map in 2024, Allred’s eye-popping fundraising and splashy launch ad have given Democrats hope for a rare pickup opportunity.
Nationally, Senate Democrats have a lot to grapple with in 2024. They have to defend seats held by senators like Sherrod Brown of Ohio and Jon Tester of Montana, states that have grown increasingly inhospitable to Democratic candidates, and question marks still surround Arizona, where Senator Krysten Sinema switched her party affiliation from Democrat to independent and is currently facing a serious challenge from Democratic Congressman Ruben Gallego.
Other states like Pennsylvania and Nevada have strong Democratic incumbents running for re-election in traditional battleground states, but opportunities to flip a Republican seat to the blue column in 2024 are few and far between. Allred’s entrance to the race has immediately upended that calculus and made Texas one of the biggest battlegrounds for the Senate majority.
Joe brings over a decade of experience as a political operative and creative strategist to Texas Signal, where he serves as our Senior Advisor and does everything from writing a regular column, Musings, to mentoring our staff and freelancers. Joe was campaign manager for Lina Hidalgo's historic 2018 victory for Harris County Judge and is a passionate sneakerhead.