Ex-NFL player Colin Allred launches challenge to Ted Cruz for Senate seat | US news [wafact]

The far-right Republican Texas senator Ted Cruz will be challenged for his seat next year by Colin Allred, a former NFL linebacker who launched his campaign on Wednesday with a video referencing the January 6 attack on Congress by Trump supporters Cruz called “peaceful protesters”.

“I’ve taken down a lot tougher guys than Ted Cruz,” Allred said.

Allred, 40, played college football for Baylor in Texas then played 32 games for the Tennessee Titans between 2007 and 2010. He entered Congress in 2019, a rare Democrat in red Texas. He has increased his majority since.

Democrats control the Senate but face a tough elections map in 2024. A pick-up in Texas would be a shock but would boost activists who insist the state is turning towards progressives.

On 6 January 2021, Trump supporters urged on by the then president and Republican allies including Cruz attacked Congress in an attempt to block certification of Joe Biden’s election win, which Trump baselessly claimed was the result of electoral fraud.

In his announcement video, Allred took Cruz to task for being one of 147 Republicans who objected to election results even after the riot, which is now linked to nine deaths including law enforcement suicides, and for confessing to hiding in a closet during the attack.

“When I left the NFL,” Allred said, walking on a football field, “I thought my days of putting people on the ground were over. Then, January 6 happened.

“I remember hearing the glass breaking and the shouts coming closer. I texted my wife: ‘Whatever happens, I love you.’ Then I took off my jacket and got ready to take on anyone who came through that door.

“And Ted Cruz? He cheered on the mob. Then hid in a supply closet when they stormed the Capitol. But that’s Ted for you. All hat, no cattle.”

Allred also targeted Cruz for a famous flight to Cancun when Texas fell under a big freeze amid widespread power failures, and for perceived policy failings, before telling his own life story.

On Twitter, Allred added: “I’ve taken down a lot tougher guys than Ted Cruz, but I can’t do this without your help.”

Now 53, Cruz entered Congress in 2013. In 2016 he ran second to Trump in the Republican presidential primary. Initially a hold-out against the billionaire, who insulted his wife and father, like most of the rest of the party Cruz soon came onside. Paul Manafort, a former Trump aide, has said Trump gave Cruz a rare apology.

In the usually collegial Senate, Cruz is famously unpopular. Al Franken, the former Democratic senator from Minnesota, once said: “I like Ted Cruz more than most of my other colleagues like Ted Cruz. And I hate Ted Cruz.”

In 2018, the last time Cruz ran for re-election, he faced a strong challenge from Beto O’Rourke, a former Democratic congressman. Cruz won by less than three points.

Speaking to the Dallas Morning News, Allred said Texas “can’t afford six more years of Ted Cruz”.

He added: “The political extremism that we are becoming increasingly known for is a real risk to our business community and our path forward. It’s making some folks say they don’t want to send their kids to school in our state. We can go in a different direction.”

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