HOUSTON — Within the first hour of the Ted Cruz Victory Party in Houston, one of the city’s most recognizable local celebrity philanthropists took the stage.
Jim “Mattress Mac” McIngvale, who owns one of Houston’s largest furniture stores, created a stir as he began telling the crowd that a Cruz victory was a must.
“Texas cannot hand over its children to Democrats,” he said and later added that the incumbent senator “sets us free.”
McIngvale touted Cruz’s stand on the free-enterprise system as a job creation tool. He received cheers when he reminded supporters that Cruz supports legalized immigration paths.
“This is why Ted Cruz will have another six years,” he said.
During the first hours of the night, the crowd was optimistic. Some said they didn’t believe any polls. Others said they believed Texas was too conservative for Cruz’s opponent, Beto O’Rourke. During the heat of O’Rourke’s challenge, he called to impeach Trump and did not oppose the possible abolishment of the Immigration and Customs Enforcement.
“It’s like everything that Trump is for, Beto was against,” said Clay Nohavitza, a 46-year-old cattle broker from El Campo. “Impeach him? For what? On the lowest unemployment rate we’ve ever had?”
As the second hour of the night began, staffers appeared optimistic as polls showed about 22 percent of precincts reporting and a Cruz lead seemed to settle in and the crowd began sporadically chanting, “Build the wall.”
By the third hour, Cruz was gaining a 51-48 percent lead that remained steady throughout the night. With 98 percent of the precincts reporting, Cruz had racked up 4,221,738 votes, or 50.9 percent, while O’Rourke had received 3,999,742 or 48.3 percent, according to the Associated Press. Meanwhile, Libertarian candidate Neal Dikeman had 64,848 or 0.8 percent of the vote.
We just want to say thank you to everyone who made this possible. Everyone who made us feel hopeful, everyone who inspired us. Everyone who became the most amazing campaign we could have ever hoped to belong to. Grateful that we got to do this with you. We love you. Goodnight! pic.twitter.com/1j6JnhtP0f
— Beto O’Rourke (@BetoORourke) November 7, 2018