Trailing in Polls, O'Rourke Lays into Cruz in Texas Debate

Hannah Rogers
October 18, 2018

In a pair of Tweets Wednesday morning, Trump went to bat for the man he's famously referred to as "Lyin' Ted" - calling on Texas voters to cast their ballots for Cruz over his charismatic Democratic challenger, Beto O'Rourke. In Tuesday night's debate in San Antonio, however: The congressman was "sharper and edgier", and the Hill notes that "seasoned debater" Cruz, whose Texas Senate seat is at stake, gave it right back. O'Rourke said Cruz hadn't done enough to stand up to Trump when it came to Russian Federation and that the state needs a "full-time senator" rather than someone who concentrates on running for president. "It's why the president called him "Lyin" Ted, ' and why the nickname stuck". There have been occasional polls showing O'Rourke closing the gap, but those rays of hope are often dimmed quickly - the Real Clear Politics average shows Cruz leading handily.

Cruz wants to participate in a previously scheduled townhall featuring just O'Rourke in the U.S. -Mexico border city of McAllen on Thursday night, but it's unclear if that will come together in time.

Cruz consistently sought to portray O'Rourke as an "extremist" on issues ranging from health care to abortion to illegal immigration, saying the El Paso Democrat is running a campaign that appeals to "left-wing national activists", and not the state of Texas. No Democrat has won any of Texas' almost 30 statewide offices since 1994, the nation's longest political losing streak.

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Cruz and O'Rourke, who first debated September 21 in Dallas, may have sparred for the last time before Election Day when they took the stage in San Antonio. "He's dishonest", O'Rourke said. He said he can work with the president and criticized O'Rourke for saying he's in favor of impeaching the president. Trump won there over Hillary Clinton by 11 points in 2016.

Minutes later, he added: "Ted Cruz has done so much for Texas, including massive cuts in taxes and regulations-which has brought Texas to the best numbers in the history of the state". The Post wrote, "Seeking to discredit criticism of his record, O'Rourke repurposed the barb against Trump's former GOP presidential primary rival".

"You are all talk and no action", he told Cruz. O'Rourke's response: "It's really interesting to hear you talk about a partisan circus, after your last six years in the US Senate". "If you have this special relationship with President Trump, then where is the result of that? The tariffs that the president has levied, the trade wars that he has led us into, is hurting no state more than it's hurting Texas".

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