In his bid for a third term, Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) is hoping to cross the finish line by making overtures to voters he hasn’t previously engaged with: Democrats. His 2024 Democratic opponent isn’t impressed by the gesture.

On Saturday, the Wall Street Journal reported that Cruz is hoping to attract more suburban-dwelling Democratic voters to win reelection. In more recent campaign appearances, Texas’ junior U.S. senator has been actively rebranding himself as a bipartisan dealmaker not afraid to reach across the aisle to deliver for constituents on issues like immigration. One campaign ad Cruz is running this cycle features “Democrats for Cruz,” featuring voices described as “local elected officials, law enforcement, business owners and industry advocates, who back Cruz in his reelection campaign.”

“I think Ted Cruz isn’t fooling anyone. I think Texans know exactly who he is,” said Rep. Colin Allred (D-Texas), who is the Democratic nominee in Texas’ 2024 Senate race. “Let’s be honest: Ted Cruz will never be part of comprehensive immigration reform.”

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Allred, whom the NFL’s Tennessee Titans drafted as a linebacker after his career at Baylor University in Waco, Texas, has been running a surprisingly competitive campaign in his effort to oust Cruz. Even though Texas hasn’t had a Democratic U.S. senator since 1993, Allred is within striking distance of Cruz in the latest polling, and has even maintained a slight lead in fundraising throughout the 2024 election cycle.

“Since entering the race in May 2023, Allred has outraised and outspent Cruz, according to campaign filings,” wrote Journal reporter Natalie Andrews. “Allred’s campaign ended March with $10.5 million in the bank, compared with $9.4 million for Cruz.”

And aside from Allred, another Democrat who serves with Cruz at the suggestion that the Texas Republican was a bridge-builder. Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Massachusetts) opined that “some conservative elected officials have decided to trim their sails a bit as they try to attract voters.” And the Journal noted that when asked about reaching a bipartisan compromise on abortion, he “declined to weigh in.”

Cruz also lacks bipartisan credentials given his refusal to back the border and immigration legislation negotiated by Sens. James Lankford (R-Oklahoma), Chris Murphy (D-Connecticut) and Kyrsten Sinema (I-Arizona). Even though that bill was lauded by Lankford — a staunch pro-Trump Republican — as “the most conservative border security bill in four decades,” Cruz argued it still wasn’t strict enough.

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The Texas senator has also adjusted his message depending on the audience he’s in front of. While he strikes a more congenial tone when engaging with Democratic-leaning voters, he embraces his far-right reputation when speaking to Republicans. According to the Journal, Cruz told a group of Republicans at a recent campaign even in downtown Houston that Democrats were “all socialists,” and lobbed attacks at “crazy uncle Bernie” in reference to Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vermont).

Cruz’s race is seen as among the more competitive contests in the 2024 Senate race. Even though he won his reelection battle against Democrat Beto O’Rourke in 2018, his margin of victory was slimmer than expected with O’Rourke finishing within three points in the typically deep-red state.

Read the Journal’s full report by clicking here (subscription required).

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