CNN’s Chris Cuomo pressed Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) to explain on Wednesday why his campaign is attacking an opponent’s nickname when Cruz uses one himself.
Following the Texas primary race on Tuesday, Cruz’s re-election campaign released a new ad mocking Rep. Beto O’Rourke, the Democratic challenger for Cruz’s Senate seat, for his name.
O’Rourke’s given name is Robert, but he goes by Beto, a childhood nickname that stuck. Cruz’s campaign ad, which features a short country music jingle, claims O’Rourke chose the nickname to “fit in.”
I remember reading stories, liberal Robert wanted to fit in, so he changed his name to Beto, and hid it with a grin.
Beto wants those open borders, and he wants to take our guns. Not a chance on earth he’ll get a vote from millions of Texans.
FIRST LISTEN: our new 60-second statewide radio ad introducing our liberal opponent, Congressman Robert O’Rourke, to Texas voters.— Ted Cruz (@tedcruz) March 7, 2018
Help #KeepTexasRed: https://t.co/PVsiCtbbyL #CruzCrew #TXSen pic.twitter.com/OxK61gZ0ek
So Cuomo asked Cruz ― whose given name is Rafael Edward ― about his own nickname.
“You know, look, your name is Rafael. You go by Ted. Your middle name is Edward ― that’s an anglicized version of it. He went the other way, and has a more ethnic version of his name,” Cuomo pointed out.
“Why go after it? You’re both doing the same thing,” he added.
“You’re absolutely right. My name is Rafael Edward Cruz,” the senator said, before launching into a story about his father, who was an immigrant from Cuba.
Earlier this week, Cruz appeared on conservative radio host Hugh Hewitt’s program and warned listeners that Republicans could lose the U.S. Senate and the House in November’s midterm elections.
“If conservatives are complacent ― 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 said.
O’Rourke, who won 61.8 percent of the vote Tuesday night in Texas’ Democratic primary race, is still considered a long shot, though it seems Cruz is in for a fight that may be more competitive this year. Texas has not elected a Democrat statewide since 1994.
O’Rourke made headlines this time last year when he and his Republican colleague, Rep. Will Hurd, went on a bipartisan road trip from San Antonio, Texas, to Washington, D.C. The two spent most of the road trip on Facebook Live, speaking with colleagues and answering questions from constituents.
- This article originally appeared on HuffPost.