On Tuesday, Texas voters finally decide who will replace Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison, who's retiring.
Republican Ted Cruz is heavily favored, but Democrat Paul Sadler is still searching for votes in Democratic strongholds like Dallas. And the payoff for him might not be for years to come.
Unable to raise the millions for enough radio and TV ads to get out his message in the final days, Sadler slowly shakes out as many votes as he can by shaking hands.
While taking a break meeting early voters at the Oak Cliff subcourthouse in Dallas, Sadler said, "The reason I've gone to every major media market and every small media market is so I can get on TV -- I can talk to voters."
Sadler, who casts himself as a moderate compared to the very conservative Cruz, stays optimistic. But he's not breaking 40 percent in polls. And in a sign how weak Democrats are in statewide races, the 2008 senate nominee former State Rep. Rick Noriega of Houston, raised more than $4 million, yet Sadler raised just $600,000 by mid-October.
With the growth of Hispanic voters, Democrats one day hope to turn Texas purple, and then blue. Sadler, 57, won't rule out another statewide run.
"It's a good experience, it's a great learning experience, I've learned a lot about voting patterns, I've learned a lot about the organizations around the state and the organization of our party around the state," Sadler said.
But for now, the former East Texas state lawmaker said he focuses on Tuesday, thinking Democrats will get a better shake in the future.