U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, has started airing the first TV ads of his re-election campaign, including one that highlights his work on the state’s recovery from Hurricane Harvey and another that takes aim at his Democratic opponent, U.S. Rep. Beto O’Rourke of El Paso.
The Harvey-themed commercial is airing in Beaumont, while the O’Rourke attack ad is on the air in Lubbock. In a news release, Cruz’s campaign highlighted only the Harvey spot, and it did not provide any information about how much it was spending on the ads.
The anti-O’Rourke spot focuses on a Cruz bill, which President Donald Trump signed into law last year, that expanded the number of unemployment benefit applicants that states can drug test. A narrator then seeks to contrast the law with O’Rourke’s successful effort on the El Paso City Council in 2009 to amend a resolution to urge for an “open, honest, national dialogue on ending the prohibition of narcotics.”
“Beto O’Rourke said we should consider legalizing all narcotics, including heroin — that would be destructive to our communities and families, ” a narrator says. “Texas needs a senator who’ll lead the fight against drug abuse, and help those in need get back to work.”
Cruz has previously attacked O’Rourke over the resolution, which was eventually vetoed by then-El Paso Mayor John Cook over concerns it could cause the city to lose out on federal funding. O’Rourke has long supported marijuana legalization but has not advocated for ending the prohibition on other drugs, and at the time he amended the resolution, he said he was not calling for legalizing all drugs but looking to have a “serious discussion about that.”
The other TV ad Cruz began running Friday is more positive. It touts Cruz’s involvement in passing Harvey aid in Congress and shows media coverage of him visiting affected communities after the storm devastated the Gulf Coast last year. It also features a clip of Cruz at a news conference standing next to Galveston County Judge Mark Henry, who says, “No official, state or federal, has been more involved in the recovery of Galveston County than Sen. Ted Cruz.”
“When the hurricane hit, you stood up for Texas,” a narrator concludes, “and Ted Cruz stood up for you.”O’Rourke’s campaign released its first ad last month, though it was only online. The candidate has expressed ambivalence about the effectiveness of TV ads in the race.