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'I'm so f***ing proud of you': Beto O'Rourke thanks supporters after loss

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Democratic challenger and one-time punk rocker Beto O'Rourke has failed to unseat Republican Ted Cruz.

Texas Republican Ted Cruz won re-election to a second term in the Senate, beating off Democratic challenger Beto O'Rourke in one of America's most expensive and closely watched midterm races, US news networks projected Tuesday.

Cruz - a 47-year-old who battled President Donald Trump for the 2016 Republican presidential nomination - overcame major deficits in fundraising to ultimately defeat his charismatic rival, whose campaign electrified Democrats across the country and was backed by a galaxy of stars from Beyonce to Jim Carrey and LeBron James.

The sombre mood at Beto celebrations.
The sombre mood at a Beto celebration.
Getty

A win for O'Rourke, a three-time congressman and former punk rocker whose given names are Robert Francis but who goes by Beto, would have amounted to a political earthquake in the reliably Republican "Lone Star State," but he ultimately fell short.

Beto O'Rourke addressed his supporters in Texas, with some fans calling it his "first 2020 stump speech".

"I am as inspired, I'm as hopeful as I have ever been in my life, and tonight's loss does nothing to diminish the way that I feel about Texas or this country," he said.

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Ted Cruz gives his victory speech in Texas
Ted Cruz gives his victory speech in Texas

O'Rourke was defeated by Republican Ted Cruz in one of America's most expensive and closely watched midterm races.

Twitter lit up after the 46-year-old told the crowd, "I'm so f***ing proud of you guys".

But some on social media said far bigger things were ahead for O'Rourke.

Cruz's campaign meanwhile was given a late boost by his former rival Trump, who belatedly stumped for the Cuban American two weeks before the vote.

During the 2016 campaign, Trump infamously insulted the looks of Cruz's wife Heidi, vaguely suggested Cruz's father had played a role in John F. Kennedy's assassination and tagged him with the nickname "Lyin' Ted" - an insult used by O'Rourke. 

A Ted Cruz supporter on election night.
A Ted Cruz supporter on election night.
Getty

Cruz's victory represented a significant boost for the Republican party as it looked set to retain control of the upper chamber of Congress.

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