Cruz on O’Rourke challenge: ‘We absolutely take the race seriously’

Texas Sen. Ted CruzRafael (Ted) Edward CruzConservatives balk over funding bill ahead of shutdown  Confirmation fight over Trump pick exposes blurred lines in GOP-LGBT activism GOP pushes to change Senate rules for Trump MORE (R) on Wednesday said he "absolutely" is taking the race for his Senate seat against Democratic challenger Beto O’Rourke seriously.

“We absolutely take the race seriously,” Cruz said on CNN. “We take nothing for granted.”

Both Cruz and O’Rourke coasted to primary victories on Tuesday night. O’Rourke took over 60 percent of the vote in the Democratic primary and Cruz received 85 percent of the vote in the Republican primary.

More than 500,000 more people voted in the Republican Senate primary than the Democratic contest.

Cruz has already put out an ad attacking O’Rourke for his liberal policies, which he argues “are not the views of the vast majority of Texans.”

O’Rourke on Wednesday morning told CNN that he was encouraged by the turnout and is glad people are voting in a state that has historically had low voter participation.

He added that he has faith that his strategy to visit all the counties in Texas will work and highlighted that his campaign is not taking any money from political action committees or corporate groups.

O’Rourke raised $2.3 million in the first six weeks of 2018 while Cruz raised $800,000 in the same time period.

A January poll from the left-leaning End Citizens United group had Cruz beating O'Rourke by 8 points — a relatively low margin for Texas, which has not had a Democratic senator since 1993.

“There is no doubt the extreme left, right now, is energized. They are angry; they hate the president. We’re seeing that in the fundraising numbers for Democrats all across the country; we’re seeing that in turnout,” Cruz said.

“That being said, in Texas last night we had a strong turnout for conservatives. It was really encouraging,” Cruz said.