Senate candidates Cruz, O'Rourke square off in fractious debate

Senate candidates Cruz, O'Rourke square off in fractious debate

The one-hour debate begins at 6 p.m. CST at Southern Methodist University in Dallas and will focus on the topic of domestic policy.

Alternating yard signs for Cruz and O'Rourke line the front lawns in the neighborhood, which is not unlike other areas of the country where Republicans find themselves on defense in 2018, facing voters that have traditionally voted Republican but may be disillusioned with the first years of the Donald Trump presidency.

"This goes to the heart of massive policy divisions", Mr. Cruz said, noting Mr. O'Rourke opposes Mr. Kavanaugh's nomination. O'Rourke said African American men and women in his position were more likely be constrained by such an act in their past.

"I think what he's fighting for doesn't work", Cruz said.

"My views on immigration are simple and I've summed them up many times in just four words - legal good, illegal bad". While a Quinnipiac University poll released a day before had Cruz up 54% to 45%.

The element that Cruz considers damning is O'Rourke campaigning against police injustice (even a very clear one) before a heavily-black audience. O'Rourke supports people's rights to "take a knee", which he believes is a peaceful way to protest racial injustice.

"I'm sorry that you don't like thoughts and prayers", Cruz said.

"That's not true", Mr. O'Rourke rejoined, before expressing what he said were common sense moves Congress can make to ensure "weapons of war belong on the battlefield and not in public life". As the final questions came, however, he seemed more at peace with his answers, and had no problem "exchanging blows" with Cruz - the more experienced debater of the two. "But I think you are absolutely honest, like Bernie, that you believe in expanding government and higher taxes", Cruz said.

"Hold on, more armed police in schools is not thoughts and prayers".

As for Cruz, his campaign continues to worry about competing with O'Rourke financially and whether Republican voters will turn out in numbers to ensure his victory.

National attention in the race has grown as O'Rourke has raised more money than Cruz.

With this ratings change, for the first time this cycle, Cook now estimates Democrats and Republicans are defending an equal number of Toss-Up Senate races: Florida, Indiana, Missouri and North Dakota for Democrats; Arizona, Nevada, Tennessee, and Texas for Republicans.

"I think the fact that he's willing to listen and wants to appeal to and hear from all people, whether they're Republicans or Democrats or independents, I think that's vitally important", said Harris.

Cruz, a onetime Ivy League debate champion, finished second in the 2016 Republican presidential primary.

Cruz and O'Rourke will face off again September 30 in Houston and October 16 in San Antonio. The deadline to register to vote is October 9.

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