The result was a major disappointment to Texas Democrats and many progressives nationally, who saw a rare opportunity with O’Rourke — a third-term lawmaker from El Paso, a largely remote and isolated district in Texas. The challenger made Cruz actually worry about his reelection campaign.
Shortly after national media called the race for the incumbent, O’Rourke took the stage in his hometown to give a passionate speech in which he thanked his family, campaign team, and voters for their support — and dropped the f-bomb on live television. “I’m so fucking proud of you guys,” O’Rourke told the people who worked on his campaign.
A rush transcript of O’Rourke’s remarks can be found below.
El Paso has produced some really great teams over the years. I am very lucky I got to be part of one that came out of this community. For the last 22 months, I have been traveling every county in Texas. I have been there to listen to and show up for every one of us. I was inspired and I am as hopeful as I have ever been in my life. Tonight’s loss does nothing to diminish the way I feel about Texas or this country.
Getting to see all of you tonight and be with you 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’re scared of. We are great people. Ambitious. Defined by our aspirations and the hard work we are willing to commit in order to achieve them. Every single one of us from a big city to a small town, the people of Texas will do the great work of the country.
I have now had the opportunity to talk with Sen. Cruz and congratulate him on his victory and wish him well going forward. What I pledged on behalf of all of us is that in this time of division, with the country as polarized as I can remember it in my life, all of this bitterness, if there is anything we can do to help him in his position of public trust to ensure that Texas helps lead the country in a way that brings us back together around big things we want to achieve, whether that is making sure we face any threat against this country or that we are there for every single person who needs a helping hand so we can let your full potential, the ability to see a doctor and receive medication you need, I want to work with him.
I will work with anyone to make sure we lead on that. You amazing public school educators who work so hard and do so much for so many of us, I will work with him or with anyone, anytime, anywhere, to make sure that the same way you have been there for us, we will be there for you. Not as Republicans or Democrats, but as Texans and Americans. I want to make sure that this community that raised me and made me who I am, where Amy and I are fortunate enough to be raising our kids who are here with us tonight, that we offer our experience, perspective, courage on the issues we know best. We will form something powerful, magical.
I have nothing to apologize for. I want to make sure that this proud community offers, has to give to our country and to ensure our best days are still ahead and the policies and laws we craft and the way we treat each other comes not out of fear, but out of confidence and strength in the kind hearts I have always known El Paso to have.
El Paso, I love you so much. I am so proud of you in the city and community and what you mean to the rest of the country. And what you have achieved tonight, along with so many other amazing people across the state. The kindness, generosity you have shown to me and Amy and our family, and to our campaign, it’s amazing. That is why my faith in this state and country is not diminished. We will continue to work and come together to make sure that we live up to the promise of potential of the country. I know that because I met you and listened to you everywhere you live.
I want to thank my family, beginning with Amy, who has borne the toughest burden raising our kids, supporting me, loving me, giving me strength and encouragement at every step, making sure we could finish this as strong as we started. I want to thank our children and my mom and sisters and my family, all of whom are here tonight, for being such great examples to me. I love you.
I want to thank this amazing campaign of people. Not a dime from a single PAC. All of you showing the country how to do this. I am so fucking proud of you guys. David, Jody, Chris, Cynthia, everybody who worked on this campaign, every volunteer and ambassador, everyone who knocked on doors, everyone who made phone calls, everyone who allow themselves to hope and believe, to be inspired by one another and to turn it into action and into votes, and to do something that no one thought was possible, to build a campaign like this one solely comprised of people from all walks of life, coming together, deciding what unites us is far stronger than the color of our skin, how many generations we can count ourselves an American, or whether we just got here yesterday, who we love, we pray to, whether we pray at all, who we voted for last time, none of it matters.
It is the greatness to which we aspire and the work we are willing to put into it to achieve it by which we will be known going forward. This campaign holds a very special place in the history of this country. Every day going forward. You have made that possible.
This team of which we are all members in some way is going to stay together and continue to aspire to do great things. It may be in individual races and communities. It may not have anything to do with politics. But each of us, sometimes together finding ways to make life better for one another in our communities. There are so many great candidates who will come out of this campaign whose work I look forward to supporting and following and cheering on. Know this: I am forever changed in the most profoundly positive way. I am forever grateful to every single one of you for making this possible. I believe in you and I believe in Texas and in this country.
I love you more than words can express and that love will persist every day going forward, making sure whatever we have created and changed, and all of us will decide what that means and how far it goes, that it leads something far greater than what we have today and that everything one of us continues to believe and made possible the greatness of the United States of America.
I am honored to have been able to do this with you and grateful. We will see you down the road. Thank you, El Paso. Thank you, Texas.
Thank you, every single one of you, for making this possible. I am so grateful. Thank you. Thank you.