U.S. Rep. Beto O’Rourke (D) generated far more buzz and cash than Sen. Ted Cruz (R), but he couldn’t muster quite enough votes to topple the incumbent in the reliably Republican state.

That the charismatic O’Rourke even made it a close race was a testament to his campaign strategy and ability to excite grassroots voters. O’Rourke showed up in every one of the state’s 254 districts during his campaign, drew huge crowds at rallies and raised more than $70 million — more than double Cruz’s total — despite accepting no money from PACs or special interests.

Percentage point voter swing

More Democratic

More Republican

20+

15

10

5

1

5

10

15

20+

Swing from

2012 Senate vote

Amarillo

Lubbock

Ft. Worth

Dallas

El Paso

Odessa

Austin

Houston

San Antonio

Corpus Christi

Laredo

McAllen

Swing from

2016 presidential

vote

Amarillo

Lubbock

Ft. Worth

Dallas

El Paso

Odessa

Austin

Houston

San Antonio

Corpus Christi

Laredo

McAllen

Percentage point voter swing

More Democratic

More Republican

20+

15

10

5

1

5

10

15

20+

Swing from

2012 Senate

vote

Amarillo

Lubbock

Ft. Worth

Dallas

El Paso

Odessa

Austin

Houston

San Antonio

Corpus Christi

Laredo

McAllen

Swing from

2016 presidential

vote

Amarillo

Lubbock

Ft. Worth

Dallas

El Paso

Odessa

Austin

Houston

San Antonio

Corpus Christi

Laredo

McAllen

Percentage point voter swing

More Democratic

More Republican

20+

15

10

5

1

5

10

15

20+

Swing from

2012 Senate

vote

Swing from

2016 presidential

vote

Amarillo

Amarillo

Lubbock

Lubbock

Ft. Worth

Ft. Worth

Dallas

Dallas

El Paso

El Paso

Odessa

Odessa

Austin

Austin

Houston

Houston

San Antonio

San Antonio

Corpus Christi

Corpus Christi

Laredo

Laredo

McAllen

McAllen

Percentage point voter swing

More Democratic

More Republican

20%+

15

10

5

1

5

10

15

20%+

Swing from

2012 Senate

vote

Swing from

2016 presidential

vote

Amarillo

Amarillo

Lubbock

Lubbock

Ft. Worth

Ft. Worth

Dallas

Dallas

El Paso

El Paso

Odessa

Odessa

Lufkin

Lufkin

San Angelo

San Angelo

Waco

Waco

Austin

Austin

Houston

Houston

San Antonio

San Antonio

Corpus Christi

Corpus Christi

Laredo

Laredo

McAllen

McAllen

But Cruz never trailed in a major poll, and he won by three percentage points, outperforming O’Rourke in rural and suburban areas that have been conservative Republican strongholds for decades. His victory solidifies his influence in a state where his party swept every statewide race, just as it has done for decades.

It was a much closer margin than either his 2012 election, which Cruz won by 16 percentage points, or the 2016 presidential election, in which Donald Trump won the state by nine points. O’Rourke did help shift Texas’s congressional delegation; Democrats picked up three seats, ousting longtime Dallas-area Pete Sessions and two others.

Clinton counties

2016 margin

2018 margin

Swing

Clinton

+22

O’Rourke (D)

+27.4

D +5.4

Trump counties

2016 margin

2018 margin

Swing

Trump

+34.2

Cruz (R)

+27.4

D +6.8

2016 margin

2018 margin

Swing

Clinton

+22

Clinton

counties

O’Rourke (D) +27.4

D +5.4

2016 margin

2018 margin

Swing

Trump

+34.2

Trump

counties

Cruz (R) +27.4

D +6.8

2016 margin

2018 margin

Swing

Clinton

counties

Clinton +22

O’Rourke (D) +27.4

D +5.4

2016 margin

2018 margin

Swing

Trump

counties

Trump +34.2

Cruz (R) +27.4

D +6.8

O’Rourke needed huge turnout from groups that do not traditionally flock to the polls, such as young voters and people who live in predominantly Hispanic areas. Some of those are near his home turf of El Paso and around the border cities of Laredo and McAllen.

Population density by race

Low turnout

areas in 2016

Hispanic

White

Black

Asian

45% or less in 2016

presidential election

Amarillo

Lubbock

Ft. Worth

Dallas

El Paso

Odessa

Austin

San Antonio

Houston

—Corpus Christi

Laredo—

200 MILES

McAllen—

Population density by race

Low turnout

areas in 2016

Hispanic

White

Black

Asian

45% or less in 2016

election

Amarillo

Lubbock

Ft. Worth

Dallas

El Paso

Odessa

Waco

Lufkin

San Angelo

Austin

Houston

San Antonio

—Corpus Christi

Laredo—

200 MILES

McAllen—

Population

density

by race

Low turnout areas in 2016

45% or less in 2016 election

Amarillo

Hispanic

White

Black

Lubbock

Asian

Ft. Worth

Dallas

Odessa

El Paso

Waco

Lufkin

San Angelo

Austin

Houston

San Antonio

—Corpus Christi

Laredo—

100 MILES

McAllen—

According to results from AP VoteCast, a survey of 3,776 Texas voters, both of those groups voted for O’Rourke by a factor of 2 to 1, but it wasn’t enough to overcome Cruz’s dominance among older white voters in rural areas who tend to vote in high numbers.

Manas Sharma contributed to this report.

About this story

Data from the Associated Press, with 97.3% of precincts reporting as of 3:15 a.m. Wednesday.

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