Rep. Colin Allred speaks to media with members of the Congressional Black Caucus during a press conference on voting rights legislation.
Washington CNN  — 

Texas Democratic Rep. Colin Allred announced a run for US Senate on Wednesday morning, entering the race to challenge incumbent Republican Sen. Ted Cruz in 2024.

“We don’t have to be embarrassed by our senator. We can get a new one,” Allred said in his announcement video.

Allred is a former NFL player, worked in the Obama administration, and has represented Texas’ 32nd Congressional District since his first election in 2018, when he ousted GOP incumbent Rep. Pete Sessions. He won a pair of close races there before the seat became less competitive after the last round of redistricting.

Allred is also a prolific fundraiser, he ended 2022 with nearly $2 million in cash on hand, according to Federal Election Commission records. He’ll need those kinds of resources during his 2024 campaign, with Cruz’s campaign committee having a balance of $3.3 million in cash on hand at the end of 2022.

Cruz faced a stiff challenge from Democratic Rep. Beto O’Rourke during his 2018 reelection campaign, with Cruz ultimately winning by just under 3 points in the typically reliable red state. O’Rourke shattered fundraising records during the high-profile race, falling short in the end but galvanizing state Democrats in the process.

Cruz is seeking his third term in the Senate, having demurred on another presidential campaign after finishing second in the 2016 Republican presidential primary. While Texas law allows a candidate to run for Senate and president at the same time, in February, Cruz said “I’m running for reelection to the Senate” when asked if he would mount another bid at the White House.

“Democrats have once again turned to a far-left radical to run for Senate. Not only does Colin Allred vote with Nancy Pelosi 100% of the time, but his voting record is completely out-of-touch with Texas,’ a spokesperson for Cruz said in a statement following Allred’s announcement.

To take on Cruz, Allred will first have to prevail in a Democratic primary that could be competitive. State Sen. Roland Gutierrez, who represents the town of Uvalde, has also publicly expressed interest in a bid. And outgoing Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner, has also been mentioned as a possible candidate.

This story has been updated with additional reaction