Texas Elections 2018

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Allies of U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, have raised $1.7 million for a new super PAC that could come in handy as Cruz seeks a second term.

The group, Texans Are, made its first filing Wednesday with the Federal Election Commission after being set up in late August. Its haul through Dec. 31 came from several wealthy individuals, including a combined $1 million from Lee Roy Mitchell, the Dallas-based founder of Cinemark Theatres, and his wife, Tandy.

The treasurer of Texans Are is Willie Langston, who was the national finance chair of Cruz's 2016 presidential campaign. Also assisting the effort is Jason Johnson, Cruz's chief strategist in 2016.

While no Democrat has won statewide office in Texas in over two decades, Cruz is facing a well-funded challenge from U.S. Rep. Beto O'Rourke, D-El Paso, who has sworn off PAC money in his campaign. O'Rourke outraised Cruz by a healthy margin during the latest fundraising period — $2.4 million to $1.9 million — though Cruz still has $2.7 million more in the bank than O'Rourke does.