Omar Villafranca and Ellen Goldberg, NBC 5 News
Republican Ted Cruz defeated Democrat Paul Sadler by a wide margin to win the U.S. Senate seat currently held by retiring Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison.
Tea party-backed Republican Ted Cruz has won the race for Texas' open U.S. Senate seat.
Cruz beat former Democratic state Rep. Paul Sadler. The ex-state solicitor general was heavily favored since Texas has not elected a Democrat to the U.S. Senate since Lloyd Bentsen in 1988. See the latest tally here.
He succeeds retiring Republican Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison.
In front of more than 800 campaign supporters at a Houston hotel, Cruz held his wife, Heidi, and thanked her for sticking by him during the long campaign.
He stuck to his campaign talking points of limited government, but said he'd be willing to work with Democrats -- as long as the issue didn't involve expanding the power and size of government.
Cruz told NBC 5 that he would not move his family to Washington D.C. but instead will keep his Texas home and rent an apartment in the nation's capital.
Cruz has become a national sensation since his upset July victory over Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst to win the Republican senatorial nomination. That race was seen as a national test of the tea party's influence because Cruz painted the mainstream GOP choice Dewhurst as too moderate.
He has since mended fences with state GOP leaders and says he'll work with both parties in Congress.
Cruz wants to build a wall the length of the Texas-Mexico border and abolish three federal departments.
NBC 5' s Omar Villafranca contributed to this report.