Former NFL linebacker and civil rights attorney Colin Allred has made public his intent to launch his campaign for the U.S. Senate later this week. He would be running for Ted Cruz’s Texas seat in 2024. Allred serves as a Democrat Congressman for Texas’ 32nd congressional district. While many believe Allred would be facing a very steep uphill battle, it is thought he will be employing similar tactics to his fellow Democrat predecessor Beto O’Rourke, who, despite the loss, leveraged the national recognition gained from his senate race to launch a presidential campaign just years later.
By Daniella Diaz, Ally Mutnick & Nicholas Wu; May 1, 2023
Democratic Rep. Colin Allred is planning to announce a run against Sen. Ted Cruz as soon as this week, according to two people familiar with his plans.
A former NFL player-turned-civil rights attorney, Allred has been quietly prepping for a run against Cruz for months. During his two successful reelection bids since ousting an entrenched incumbent in 2018, Allred has proven a prolific fundraiser. He’s well-liked within the Democratic Caucus and has also picked up positions in leadership, now serving as a member of House Minority Whip Katherine Clark’s (D-Mass.) team and as previously part of then-Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s (D-Calif.) expansive leadership team.
Allred won his suburban Dallas House seat in 2018, unseating Rep. Pete Sessions — a former House Rules Committee and National Republican Congressional Committee chair who later returned to the House after running in a different district.
After 2020’s redistricting, Allred’s district became safely Democratic, meaning he could likely hold his current seat for as long as he chooses. His decision to give it up to run for Senate instead, in a state where his party has struggled to win statewide, sets up a potentially high-profile general election race next fall.
Cruz, now serving his second term in the Senate, faced a tougher-than-expected challenge from then-Rep. Beto O’Rourke (D-Texas) in 2018. Though O’Rourke lost by about 2.6 percentage points, the former House member developed a national profile that he parlayed into an unsuccessful 2020 presidential run.
Allred may well follow O’Rourke’s model. Even if he doesn’t win, he will raise his political cachet with a 2024 run against Cruz — giving himself national exposure and building a massive donor list.
He has demonstrated an ability to excite Democrats and pick up independents or moderate Republicans, earning endorsements from the AFL-CIO and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce for his congressional runs.
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