By WILL WEISSERT and PAUL J. WEBER
EL PASO, Texas (AP) - Republican Ted Cruz is returning to the U.S. Senate, scuffed by a surprisingly close race but still President Donald Trump's staunch defender on the hard right in Texas.
Cruz's own White House ambitions also remain intact after fending off a spirited challenge from Democratic Rep. Beto O'Rourke.
O'Rourke was within 3 points of Cruz in Tuesday's midterm. It was the closest finish in a Texas Senate race in 40 years.
It was a bad night on the Senate map overall for Democrats, who were poised to retake the House but couldn't make a dent in the GOP majority in the other chamber.
In his victory speech, Cruz said his win affirmed that he won the "battle of ideas" against O'Rourke over issues like taxes, regulation and jobs.
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