Democratic Rep. Colin Allred (Tex.) will challenge two-term Republican Sen. Ted Cruz for his Senate seat in 2024, Allred announced Wednesday morning.
In a video posted to social media, Allred showed footage from the Jan. 6, 2021, insurrection, in which a mob of President Donald Trump’s supporters overran the U.S. Capitol seeking to stop the certification of Joe Biden’s electoral win.
On that day, Allred said in the video, he heard glass breaking and texted his wife to say, “Whatever happens, I love you,” then took off his jacket and “got ready to take on anyone who came through that door.” He slammed Cruz for voting against the certification of election results that day and for hiding in a storage closet during the attack.
“But that’s Ted for you: All hat, no cattle,” Allred said in the video.
I’m running for U.S. Senate because Texans deserve a Senator whose team is Texas. Ted Cruz only cares about himself.
Join our campaign today: https://t.co/2dROrrQrPV pic.twitter.com/9iz9yu1rFb
— Colin Allred (@ColinAllredTX) May 3, 2023
Allred, a lawyer and former professional football player who was a linebacker for the Tennessee Titans, was first elected to Congress in 2018, defeating incumbent Pete Sessions (R-Tex.) in an upset. In November, Allred won reelection to his third House term by more than 30 percentage points. He represents a portion of the Dallas area.
“Some people say a Democrat can’t win in Texas. Well, someone like me was never supposed to get this far,” Allred said in the video, recounting his childhood in Texas where he was raised by a single mother and never knew his father.
Because of that, he said, Allred became the first member of Congress to publicly take paternity leave in 2019. He took paternity leave once again in 2021 after the birth of his second son, and has been a vocal proponent of national paid family leave.
“Being there for your partner and newborn during this critical period leads to better outcomes for kids, dads and their partners, and men taking paternity leave promotes equality for working moms,” Allred said in 2021.
Allred, 40, is a member of the Congressional Black Caucus and serves on the House transportation and foreign affairs committees, as well as the newly GOP-formed select committee on “the weaponization of the federal government.”
Cruz, 52, was first elected to the Senate in 2012. He won reelection in 2018 by fewer than 3 percentage points, fending off a challenge from Democrat Beto O’Rourke. Cruz also ran for the 2016 Republican presidential nomination, ultimately suspending his campaign after losing the Indiana primary and later endorsing his chief primary rival, Trump.
The 2024 Senate map is a brutal one for Democrats, who must defend — in a presidential election year — eight of their seats in states that voted for Trump or just narrowly backed Biden in 2020. Texas, while still decidedly a long shot, represents the Democrats’ best opportunity to pick up a seat, given that Cruz has faced lagging approval ratings, according to University of Texas polling.
Cruz’s approval ratings notably took a hit after he decamped with his family to Cancún while millions of Texans were dealing with widespread power outages and severe and deadly freezing weather in February 2021.
After being spotted at the airport and facing intense criticism and mockery for leaving the state during a crisis, Cruz finally released a statement the following day, shortly before flying back to Houston after less than 24 hours in Cancún.
“Like millions of Texans, our family lost heat and power too,” Cruz stated then. “With school cancelled for the week, our girls asked to take a trip with friends. Wanting to be a good dad, I flew down with them last night and am flying back this afternoon. My staff and I are in constant communication with state and local leaders to get to the bottom of what happened in Texas.”
In the 2016 presidential campaign, Cruz called Trump a “pathological liar,” “utterly amoral” and a “sniveling coward” as the New York businessman insulted Cruz’s wife, Heidi, and repeated baseless claims linking Cruz’s Cuba-born father to the John F. Kennedy assassination. Cruz later endorsed Trump, is one of his strongest supporters in Congress and sought to overturn Biden’s win in the 2020 election.