(CNN)Texas Sen. Ted Cruz warned Tuesday that his state could turn blue if conservatives don't turn out to vote.
Ted Cruz warns of blue Texas as Democrats hold edge in early vote
Cruz, speaking to radio host Hugh Hewitt, was discussing the early vote totals ahead of Texas' March 6 primary, which showed Democrats held a 45,000-vote lead in the early vote in the state's 15 largest counties.
During the last two midterm cycles, 2014 and 2010, Democrats trailed Republicans by more than 120,000 early primary votes in those counties. The Democrats' early vote lead is a sign of enthusiasm among their base heading into the midterm elections, where Democrats are hoping to capitalize on President Donald Trump's unpopularity with their base to win majorities in the House and Senate.
"The Democrats are showing up in big, big numbers. We need to make sure we get conservatives showing up to keep Texas bright red," Cruz told Hewitt. "Look, I think this is a volatile election. I think it could go a lot of directions."
Cruz continued, "The extreme left, they're angry. They're filled with rage. They hate the President. And mark my words, we are going to see historic turnout from the extreme left in November, which means if conservatives stay home, we have the potential, we could lose both houses of Congress."
Cruz's sentiment was echoed by John Cornyn, the senior Republican senator from Texas, who told CNN's Phil Mattingly, with a chuckle: "Well, it got my attention."
"I guess we need to encourage the President to send out emails for the general election to all 800,000 people he has on his database and encourage them to vote in November," Cornyn added. "I think it would be malpractice if we didn't pay attention and respond accordingly."
Cruz, unlike Cornyn, is up for re-election in 2018, and is fending off a challenge from Democrat Beto O'Rourke, a US representative from El Paso who has been touring every county in the state. O'Rourke outraised Cruz from the beginning of 2018 through mid-February by $1.5 million, although Cruz is still favored to win in the state. CNN's race rating of the Texas Senate race is Likely Republican.