Cruz misses Senate votes to campaign in Texas

Cruz misses Senate votes to campaign in Texas
© Greg Nash

Sen. Ted CruzRafael (Ted) Edward CruzOn The Money: Trump signs order targeting social media firms' legal protections | 2M more Americans file new jobless claims, pushing total past 40M | White House to forgo summer economic forecast amid COVID-19, breaking precedent Trump signs order targeting social media firms' legal protections Overnight Defense: Trump ends sanctions waivers for Iran nuclear projects | Top Dems says State working on new Saudi arms sale | 34-year-old Army reservist ID'd as third military COVID-19 death MORE (R-Texas) missed votes this week as he spent time campaigning back in Texas, where he is running in a closer-than-anticipated Senate race.

The Senate cut its work week short, but before they did so the chamber held seven roll call votes to clear nominees for President TrumpDonald John TrumpMinneapolis erupts for third night, as protests spread, Trump vows retaliation Stocks open mixed ahead of Trump briefing on China The island that can save America MORE.

But the GOP senator skipped the votes. On Monday night Cruz had campaign stops scheduled into the evening, making him unable to make the Senate's Monday night bed check votes.

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Cruz also had a string of stops scheduled for Tuesday, missing votes and a closed-door caucus lunch in D.C. A Judiciary subcommittee hearing that was scheduled to take place on Tuesday afternoon and would have been overseen by Cruz was also postponed.

Cruz was also one of 15 senators who missed votes earlier this month, after Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellThe Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - George Floyd's death sparks protests, National Guard activation COVID-19 workplace complaints surge; unions rip administration Senate Democrats pump brakes on new stimulus checks MORE (R-Ky.) lectured senators about showing up for the rare August session.

A spokesperson for Cruz didn't respond to a request for comment on Wednesday about the decision.

Cruz wasn't the only senator absent for the votes and his decision to stay in Texas to campaign didn't change the outcome of the votes.

GOP Sen. John CornynJohn CornynGOP senators urge Trump not to restrict guest worker visas Castro, Warren, Harris to speak at Texas Democratic virtual convention Democratic unity starts to crack in coronavirus liability reform fight MORE (R-Texas), the No. 2 Senate Republican, downplayed Cruz's absence, noting that it hadn't resulted in any nominations falling short of the support needed.

"We really haven’t had any close votes that have turned on a single senator’s absence or presence. I trust [Cruz] to make decisions in the best interest of his campaign and his service," Cornyn told Texas reporters.

But the missed votes comes as Cruz's November fight against Rep. Beto O'RourkeBeto O'RourkeBiden will help close out Texas Democrats' virtual convention: report O'Rourke on Texas reopening: 'Dangerous, dumb and weak' Parties gear up for battle over Texas state House MORE (D-Texas) has remained closer than expected despite Texas's status as a solidly red state.

The race has gained national attention and donations have poured in from around the country. 

O'Rourke is nearly even with Cruz in fundraising. He has raised $23.33 million compared to Cruz's $23.36 million so far, according to the Center for Responsive Politics.

Cruz also led O’Rourke by just 1 point, well within the margin of error, in a recent poll from Emerson College.

Cruz is leading by an average of 5.5 percentage points, according to a Real Clear Politics average