Texas state Sen. Roland Gutierrez announced he is vying for the U.S. Senate seat held by Sen. Ted Cruz in next year's election.
Gutierrez would first need to win a Democratic primary, which already has a number of declared candidates, including U.S. Rep. Colin Allred.
Gutierrez's prominence increased after the May 2022 shooting at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas, when 19 students and two teachers were killed.
"Out of one of the darkest days, the people of Uvalde became more than constituents — they became family," he said in his campaign announcement. "We joined together to demand change."
Gutierrez is appearing to make gun legislation part of his campaign pitch in the Republican-leaning state. Texans have not elected a Democrat to the U.S. Senate since 1988.
Gutierrez introduced several gun control bills in the Texas legislature following the Uvalde shooting. Among them was raising the age to purchase a firearm and establishing a compensation fund for victims of gun violence.
"I'm a proud gun owner and believe in the Second Amendment, but after 19 children and two teachers died, the Republicans wouldn't even allow us an opportunity to talk about ways to protect our kids. It's why we have to do something now," Gutierrez said.
Democrats in Texas arguably put up their best challenge in decades to a U.S. Senate seat in 2018. Beto O'Rourke garnered 48.3% of the vote and outraised Cruz financially. Cruz won in 2012 with 56% of the vote over Democrat Paul Sadler, who received 40%.
Cook Political Reportlists Texas as a "likely Republican" seat in 2024.
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