Cruz, O'Rourke face off in first debate

Geneva Stokes
September 24, 2018

Without denying it, Cruz shot back that O'Rourke is focused on "fighting for illegal immigrants" and that "Americans are Dreamers". Candidates were asked about what they admired about their opponent.

While Latinos are expected to become the largest population group in Texas by 2020, whether this is the year Latinos cost Republicans a statewide election remains an open question.

"I think Congressman O'Rourke is passionate, he is energetic", Cruz then told the crowd.

O'Rourke says voters are exhausted of negative campaigning and won't do it himself.

O'Rourke replied: "True to form". It was moderated by NBC 5 political reporter Julie Fine and Dallas Morning News political writer Gromer Jeffers. An attorney who filed two ethics complaints against O'Rourke in 2006 over the project called recent attack ads misleading. "We're not happy 'til they're not happy".

"Thoughts and prayers, Sen".

O'Rourke recorded 0.136 and 0.134 blood alcohol levels on Breathalyzer tests, the records said. "The children of Texas deserve action", O'Rourke said.

"Let me be very clear, more armed police officers in our schools is not 'thoughts and prayers, '" Cruz said. "I will pray for anyone in harm's way".

"The alternative, as Senator Cruz has proposed, is to deport 11 million people from this country", O'Rourke said.

Another source of contention was kneeling for the national anthem. Most polls indicate the election is now too close to confidently predict. Players have a right to protest, Cruz added, when they can do it in a way that does not "disrespect the flag". "How do you respond to critics who say that as it relates to President Trump, you've lost your dignity?" Texas Rangers and the Dallas County district attorney quickly charged Guyger with manslaughter. On the city's east side, Beto O'Rourke supporters filled his "Get-Out-The-Vote" headquarters. "It's the first time he is being directly confronted with his policies", said campaign spokeswoman Emily Miller. The "On the Road Again" singer has a long history of supporting Democratic politicians, including Jimmy Carter's 1980 presidential bid and wrote an anti-Trump song in 2017.

"I've done a lot of research and a lot of reading", said Janet Lionberger.

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The spat Cruz had with Trump in the 2016 primary, and the way Cruz capitulated nearly immediately after, was not just a matter of whether Cruz had the principles to stand up for himself or his family. "But you are fighting for the principles you believe in and I commend that".

Cruz also touted this year's income tax overhaul and job growth. From April 2015 to June 2016, roughly the period when Cruz was campaigning, he missed 43.4 percent of Senate votes.

"We need a junior senator who will stand up to this president", O'Rourke said.

In closing the moderators asked both men to say something nice about one another.

"There is no better people than those of us here in this state ... to rewrite our immigration laws in our own image", O'Rourke said.

Republican Ted Cruz and Democrat Beto O'Rourke are holding their first debate as a Texas Senate race that once looked like it would be a cakewalk for the conservative incumbent now appears to be anything but one. Just this week, the Cook Political Report reclassified the race, calling it a tossup.

U.S. Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) and U.S. Rep. Robert Francis "Beto" O'Rourke (D-TX) are pictured in this combination photo in Houston, Texas, U.S., September 20, 2018 and in McAllen, Texas, U.S., August 18, 2018 respectively. Early voting begins October 22.

Both candidates tried to don the mantle as a "fighter", although Mr. Cruz warned at the end that should Mr. O'Rourke be elected his causes may not jibe with many Texans. Ted Cruz "has a tendency to mischaracterize a position" after the pair repeatedly traded barbs during a frosty first debate.

Cruz offered no compromise on hardline immigration measures or gun control, months after a mass shooting at a high school near Houston.

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

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