Former Republican presidential candidate Texas Sen. Ted Cruz easily won his primary on Tuesday, setting him up to face off against "Beto," who despite the Hispanic-sounding nickname is actually Irish-American Robert O'Rourke.
In his first official ad for the general election, Cruz released a 1-minute version of Alabama's "If You're Gonna Play In Texas" that makes sure to hammer O'Rourke for what it suggests is his Hispanic-pandering name game.
As RedState notes, despite the media making much of a higher-than-normal Democratic turnout for the primary, Republican turnout swamped it once again. Before releasing his first ad targeting his Democratic opponent, Cruz took a moment to thank voters for electing him.
"I am deeply grateful that Republicans in Texas turned out and put their confidence in me to continue leading the fight for Texas values in Washington," he tweeted. "Now let's get to work to #KeepTexasRed."
Cruz followed the tweet with his own "Beto"-mocking version of Alabama's famous song, "If You're Gonna Run In Texas, You Can't Be A Liberal Man."
Here's an excerpt highlighting his opponent's Hispanic-sounding name change:
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 wants to take our guns.
Not a chance on earth he'll get a vote from millions of Texans.
In response, O'Rourke told CNN's "New Day" on Wednesday that Texans don't want "name-calling."
"I just don't think that's what folks in Texas want us to focus on," he said. "We can get into name-calling and talk about why the other person is such an awful guy, or we can focus on the big things we want to do for the future of our country, for the generations that will succeed us. ... We can focus on the small, mean, petty stuff, or we can be big, bold, courageous, and confident."
When CNN tried to suggest Cruz was being unfair because he goes with his English-sounding middle name, the senator turned it into a moment to highlight that he actually has a Hispanic background. "You're absolutely right. My name is Rafael Edward Cruz," Cruz told "New Day." "I am the son of my father Rafael Cruz, an immigrant from Cuba who came to Texas with nothing."
"In terms of the jingle, some of it is just having a sense of humor," said Cruz. "We had some fun with it."