'I'm so f---ing proud of you guys': star Texas Democrat Beto O'Rourke concedes defeat to Ted Cruz in impassioned speech after his devastating loss

Chip Somodevilla/Getty ImagesDemocratic Rep. Beto O’Rourke.
  • Beto O’Rourke, the Democratic US Senate candidate in Texas, conceded defeat to incumbent Republican Sen. Ted Cruz late on Tuesday.
  • O’Rourke, 46, from El Paso, was by far the best-funded and most competitive Democrat to run statewide in Texas in years, and he would have been the first elected statewide in nearly a quarter of a century.
  • The progressive Democrat praised his supporters for beating the odds. “This campaign holds a very special place in the history of this country going forward,” he said.

Beto O’Rourke, the Democratic US Senate candidate in Texas, conceded defeat to incumbent Republican Sen. Ted Cruz late on Tuesday in one of the nation’s tightest and most closely watched midterm battles.

O’Rourke, 46, from El Paso, was by far the best-funded and most competitive Democrat to run statewide in Texas in years, and he would have been the first elected statewide in nearly a quarter of a century.

“Tonight’s loss does nothing to diminish the way that I feel about Texas or this country,” O’Rourke said during an impassioned concession speech in his home city. “Getting to be with and see all of you tonight reminds me why we set out to do this in the first place. We’re not about being against anybody … We’re not going to define ourselves by who or what we are against or afraid of or scared of.”

He pledged to support Cruz and work across the aisle despite deep polarization.

“I’ll work with him, I’ll work with anyone, anytime, anywhere, to make sure, in the same way you’ve been there for us, that now we can be there for you,” O’Rourke said.

He praised his supporters for “doing something no one thought was possible.”

“This campaign holds a very special place in the history of this country going forward,” he said. “I’m so f—ing proud of you guys!”

The progressive Democrat, who campaigned on “Medicare for All” and pathways to citizenship for undocumented immigrants, was fuelled by over $US60 million in campaign donations, a savvy social-media strategy, and a series of glowing profiles in national media outlets – as well as generous comparisons to President John F. Kennedy.

For months, O’Rourke attracted widespread national attention with viral video clips of him defending the free-speech rights of NFL players, livestreams of his road trips across the state, and celebrity endorsements from the likes of the country music star Willie Nelson and the NBA legend LeBron James.

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