Cruz vs. O'Rourke: Two polls show different results

Clay Curtis
September 23, 2018

GOP U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz isn't terribly popular, and while that might not necessarily be a problem is a red state, Democratic U.S. Rep. Beto O'Rourke and his message have generated a great deal of enthusiasm among Democrats and independents, as well as Democratic donors across the country who have filled his campaign war chest.

The debate was feisty from the opening question, which was about whether "Dreamers" - young people who were brought to the country illegally as children - should be given a path to citizenship.

Representative Beto O'Rourke speaks during a campaign rally in Plano, Texas, Sept. 15, 2018. On the city's east side, Beto O'Rourke supporters filled his "Get-Out-The-Vote" headquarters.

The moderator wrapped up the debate by asking both Senate candidates to say something they "admire" about the other, which similarly took place during the second presidential debate between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton in 2016.

Asked Friday about Trump's 2016 criticism, which included making fun of Cruz's wife's appearance and suggesting that his Cuban-born father had a hand in the assassination of John F. Kennedy, Cruz said, "I could have chosen to make it about myself", but instead he said he worked with Trump to further Texas interests.

O'Rourke said he's concerned at the high numbers of black Americans who are killed by white police officers. "You just said something that I did not say and attributed it to me". It is not clear precisely what part of O'Rourke's argument he disagrees with - that it's wrong for police to murder an innocent person in their home?

O'Rourke said Cruz was trying "to mislead" the public. I made a conscious choice to do the job I've been elected to do, which is to represent 28 million Texans.

O'Rourke chided Cruz for supporting legislation that would have allocated billions of dollars to build a wall along the U.S. -Mexico border, and called for an earned path to citizenship. "And I commend you for fighting for what you believe in".

O'Rourke, though, faulted Cruz for not opposing Trump more and said the president undermines American democratic institutions.

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But the most touching testimony came from the person who had been closest to her in recent months, her boyfriend Carlos Negrín. Paul Rounds, a public defender assigned to represent him, filed paperwork asserting his right to not speak to investigators.

"We're for people. Not parties, not corporations, not special interests".

"Generally, races in the Toss Up column don't break down the middle; one party tends to win a majority of them", said Jennifer Duffy from the Cook Political Report.

The first of three debates between Cruz and O'Rourke is scheduled for this evening at 6:00 p.m.

The campaign event was held at Franca's Real Italian Restaurant.

The Latest on the first debate between Republican Sen.

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

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

Texas has been in the headlines for two high-profile mass shootings over the past year - one in November 2017 at a church in Sutherland Springs and another in May at Santa Fe High School, outside of Houston.

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