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U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz launches re-election bid at regional airport in Jefferson County

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U.S. Senator Ted Cruz's stop in Jefferson County is now igniting a social media war of words.

The firestorm is linked to the number of times he and his opponent have made stops in Southeast Texas.

"Texas is a land of heroes and we saw that front and center last year when Harvey hit," said Senator Cruz.

Monday morning, U.S. Senator Ted Cruz's bid for re-election took off from the Jack Brooks Regional Airport.

"I'm here today formally launching my re-election campaign for the United States Senate."

Cruz's theme is 'Tough as Texas.' That's why he says he chose Jefferson County as the first stop in his kickoff campaign tour.

"Jefferson County got hit hard by Hurricane Harvey and I wanted to come here and really thank the heroes that risked everything saving other Texans," said Cruz.

He invited some of those Harvey heroes to this announcement.

"Wonderful heroes like Stephanie Abrego."

Stephanie Abrego is a Southeast Texas businesswoman who at the height of Harvey created a dispatch service of volunteers to help storm victims-all from her backyard pool house.

"Stephanie's Angels, the group of angels grew to 1000 people, 1000 people," said Senator Cruz.

Cruz's promise at this rally-to continue focusing on Harvey recovery...

His Democratic opponent, Beto O'Rourke's campaign, had this Snapchat filter up during the Republican senator's visit to Southeast Texas.

It read: Ted Cruz visited 99 of Iowa's 99 counties. When's the last time he listened to Texans in Beaumont?

Cruz fired back with this tweet: I've been to Beaumont 4 times in the past year, including three times in the days following Hurricane Harvey. As best I can tell, you've been there once for a drive-by campaign event on February 9. Maybe that's why you lost Jefferson County in the Dem Primary.

O'Rourke's campaign sent us a statement saying since launching his campaign one year ago, O'Rourke has visited 228 counties and held town halls across the state, including three in Beaumont.

But Cruz maintains he's taken the lead championing three disaster relief bills.

"Federal government could always do more, and I know it's frustrating, it's always frustrating dealing with the giant bureaucracy that is the federal government," said Cruz.

We asked him about Port Arthur where citizens have been frustrated with the slow response from their city leaders.

"Sad fact is Port Arthur was hit very, very hard and there are residents there who were struggling to begin with, who ended up facing devastating storm damages," said Cruz.

But Jefferson County Judge Jeff Branick credits Cruz for the aid this area's received.

"I know where I can call to get the help that we need and try to block what sometimes is unnecessary red tape," said Branick.

Senator Cruz implied his opponent's record on the 2nd Amendment is weak, saying the National Rifle Association has given Beto O'Rourke an "F".

O'Rourke's response is with Texas' strong history of gun safety and gun ownership, the state should be leading the way in pushing for universal background checks.

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