Earlier this week we told our readers that we expected Rep. Colin Allred, the former NFL linebacker turned Dallas-area congressman, to officially kick off a campaign for the United States Senate against Ted Cruz in the middle of the week.
Well, it’s Wednesday, and it’s real.
Allred officially launched his bid to unseat Cruz this morning with a powerful launch ad that takes Cruz to task for his leading role in the failed January 6th insurrection and for abandoning Texas during the deadly Winter Storm Uri in 2021 to escape to a luxury hotel in Cancun before being caught by outraged social media sleuths.
The ad sets an interesting opening tone for Allred, balancing his unique background as the son of a single mother who worked his way to Baylor University and ultimately the NFL before Allred earned a law degree and joined the Obama Administration with a directly confrontational message contrasting his personal character with Cruz’s.
That contrast is a key ingredient in toppling the embattled junior senator and failed former presidential candidate. In 2018, Beto O’Rourke nearly toppled Cruz while largely avoiding attacking Cruz or his record in stark or direct terms. Many Texas Democrats felt if O’Rourke had turned up the heat on Cruz sooner in that race, that he may have closed the gap.
Cruz isn’t expected to have any such luck in 2024, with Allred already taking him on directly and other potential candidates like Texas State Senator Roland Gutierrez openly signaling a willingness to take Cruz to task for a decade-long string of failures in the Senate.
Allred’s splashy entrance to the race is welcome news for national Democrats, who face a difficult Senate map in the 2024 election cycle with few obvious pickup opportunities. Cruz’s profile as a far-right talking head and a career worth controversial statements and moves in the Senate have made Cruz an enduringly unpopular figure in national politics, something Allred’s campaign will need to exploit to raise the resources necessary to effectively take on Cruz.
Allred also enters the race with a potential ace up his sleeve: at the end of the first quarter of 2023, Allred had just over $2 million in cash on hand, money that can immediately be transferred to his Senate campaign and deployed against Cruz, who posted a relatively anemic first quarter fundraising figure of $1.5 million spread across his campaign committee and allied PACs.
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.