Surprisingly Close Texas Senate Race Sparks Testy Debate For Cruz, O'Rourke

Larry Hoffman
September 22, 2018

O'Rourke has built his campaign around healthcare, economic inequality, and resisting Trump and Cruz's immigration policies, as well as calling for some gun-control measures including uniform background checks and banning high-capacity weapons. Cruz pounced in his response, bringing up O'Rourke's support for impeaching Trump. The justices Mr. O'Rourke wants on the court are the same as those favored by people like Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton, Mr. Cruz argued, once again tying Mr. O'Rourke's platform to those Democratic figures unpopular in the Lone Star State. O'Rourke, meanwhile, has been open about his 1998 arrest for drunken driving in El Paso, but said for the first time Friday that he did not try to flee the scene, as a witness suggested in the police report.

Each candidate displayed the sort of strengths that have earned them the praise or enmity of the opposing camp.

"It is why some have called this", he concluded, "I think it is an apt description, the new Jim Crow".

Cruz said O'Rourke wanted to get rid of the Second Amendment, prompting O'Rourke to say that wasn't the case. Cruz painted O'Rourke as a far-left ideologue beholden to "liberal interests".

The two did find common ground in one area: When asked about how best to cover the health care needs of Texans, both men said Americans should not be rejected for health care coverage for pre-existing conditions.

U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) makes a comment as Rep. Beto O'Rourke (D-TX) waits his turn during a debate for Texas U.S. Senate seat at the Southern Methodist University in Dallas, Texas, U.S., September 21, 2018.

Cruz and O'Rourke will face off again September 30 in Houston and October 16 in San Antonio. Early voting begins October 22.

Texas voters were treated Friday evening to a Senate debate conducted throughout at an extremely high level that presented a stark contrast between full-blown conservatism and liberalism.

"But pretty much all of them show Ted Cruz still leading", he said, adding that Latino voters, who tend not to show up in big numbers in midterm elections, are crucial for O'Rourke to have a chance. That is when Cruz proposed five topical debates over three months in five cities.

The vast differences between the two candidates on nearly every hot topic were on display, particularly immigration and border security.

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