Colin Allred wins Texas Senate Democratic primary to face Ted Cruz in November

Rep. Colin Allred will take on GOP Sen. Ted Cruz after winning Tuesday’s Democratic Senate primary, NBC News projects, setting up a key matchup in the fight for control of the chamber. 

Allred bested a crowded field of nine Democrats to take on Cruz, who is a top target for Democrats this year as they are largely on defense as they fight to hold onto the Senate.

“I’ve always felt like we can’t afford six more years of Ted Cruz representing us in the Senate — six more years of somebody who abandons us when 30 million Texans are freezing in the dark, six more years as somebody who wants to have a nationwide abortion ban, six more years of someone who I think is only interested in themselves, and not all of us as Texans” Allred told NBC News in an interview on Tuesday. 

Allred’s top opponent for the GOP nod was state Sen. Roland Gutierrez, who represents the city of Uvalde, whose residents suffered through a tragic mass shooting at an elementary school in 2022. But Allred appeared poised to cross the majority-vote threshold necessary to avoid a primary runoff. 

Texas State Senator Roland Gutierrez
Texas State Senator Roland Gutierrez in 2022 in Uvalde, Texas.Yasin Ozturk / Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

First elected to the House in 2018 after flipping a Dallas-area seat, Allred has been viewed as a formidable Senate recruit, posting strong fundraising numbers and already launching TV ads that were more focused on the general election than Tuesday’s primary contest. 

Allred has focused much of his early messaging on abortion, with Texas having the most restrictive abortion ban of the states hosting competitive Senate races this year. Democrats believe this issue could help propel them to victory in a state they have long argued is trending in their direction. 

Former President Donald Trump won Texas by nearly 6 points in 2020, following a 9-point win in 2016. And Cruz won a close re-election race in 2018 by nearly 3 points, defeating then-Rep. Beto O’Rourke.

Texas could be a key race in the fight for the Senate. Republicans need a net gain of just two seats to take control of the chamber, or one seat if Republicans win the White House since the vice president casts tie-breaking votes in the Senate. 

And while the presidential race will loom large in November, Allred has drawn some distinctions with Biden, siding with Republicans to support a resolution criticizing the administration’s policies surrounding the U.S.-Mexico border. 

“I was saying we need to get some urgency around this. And I thought the status quo was unacceptable,” Allred told NBC News of his vote.

Allred declined to directly answer if he would campaign with Biden.

“This is going to be about Texans talking to Texans, neighbors talking to neighbors,” Allred said. “We’re picking a senator who will serve us for the next six years past the term or the next presidency. And so, you know, listen, anybody’s welcome to come, but my message will stay the same, which is that I’m focused on Texas.”

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