Colin Allred, former NFL player, announces Democratic challenge to Ted Cruz in Texas

 (Colin Allred)
(Colin Allred)

Democratic Representative Colin Allred announced his campaign to challenge Senator Ted Cruz Texas’s Senate seat early Wednesday morning.

Mr Allred has represented the Dallas area since 2019 after he flipped a congressional seat during the 2018 midterm wave when he beat longtime Republican Representative Pete Sessions

Mr Allred, who played in the NFL for the Tennessee Titans before becoming a lawyer, opened his ad by talking about how he tried to set up a blockade during the riot at the US Capitol on January 6.

“I texted my wife, ‘whatever happens, I love you,’ then I took off my jacket and I got ready to take on anyone who came through that door,” he said. Mr Allred contrasted his efforts to keep the Capitol safe with Mr Cruz leading the charge to overturn the 2020 presidential election results.

“And Ted Cruz? He cheered on the mob,” he said. “Then his in the supply closet when they stormed the Capitol. But that’s Ted for you. All hat, and no cattle”

The Democratic congressman also slammed Mr Cruz for abandoning Texas during a freeze in 2021 and going to Cancun, Mexico.

“He’ll do anything to get on Fox News, but can’t be bothered to keep rural Texas hospitals open,” he said.

Mr Allred served as a civil rights lawyer in the Department of Housing and Urban Development during the Obama administration before running for Congress.

Mr Cruz has become a lightning rod since his election to the Senate in 2012, often battling with leaders in his own party as much as Democrats, before he ran for the Republican nomination for president in 2016, when he came in second to Donald Trump. In 2018, he narrowly beat former El Paso congressman Beto O’Rourke.

Texas hasn’t elected a Democratic Senator since Lloyd Bensten in 1988. In 2020, Senator John Cornyn won re-election by almost ten points, overperforming Mr Trump. Mr Allred acknowledged that he faces an uphill battle in the Lone Star State.

“Some say a Democrat can’t win in Texas,” he said. “Well, someone like was never supposed to get this far.”

Mr Allred will likely raise large amounts of money and Texas poses one of the few opportunities for Democrats to flip a Senate seat alongside Florida in an election where they will otherwise be playing defence trying to hold seats in states Mr Trump won twice such as Montana, Ohio and West Virginia.