Allred reportedly set to announce a challenge to Cruz

Well, well, well.

Rep. Colin Allred

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.

It’s a short story, which does not mention the previous reporting that State Sen. Roland Gutierrez is also preparing to announce his candidacy against Cruz. As with that, one must retain some discretion until one hears it from the candidate’s mouth – Sen. Gutierrez later said that he’ll address his situation after the legislative session – but also as with the Gutierrez story, one has to assume that this didn’t get to a reporter without the full knowledge of the man in question. This could make the 2024 primary a lot more interesting in Texas.

Allred is a strong fundraiser and would start out with a significant financial advantage over Gutierrez, enough so that if he walks back that earlier story it would not shock me. He’ll need to step it up another notch or two to take on Cruz, but I feel confident he can do that. If nothing else, this may be the most realistic takeover opportunity for Dems in their bad Senate cycle year. We’ll find out soon enough. The Trib, which does note the existence of Sen. Gutierrez’s interest in the race, has more.

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