Cruz, ORourke clash over immigration, Trump, guns during intense debate

Minnie Murray
September 24, 2018

In a new poll, Democratic US Senate Candidate Beto O'Rourke is leading Republican incumbent Ted Cruz for the first time.

It is the first of three debates in what's shaping up to be one of the most interesting election races in the country.

The topic of Fridays' debate is domestic policy and will be moderated by KXAS-NBC 5 reporter Julie Fine and Dallas Morning News political writer Gromer Jeffers.

The conservative US senator from Texas is being outpaced and overshadowed by his progressive challenger, Beto O'Rourke, who is pushing to be the first Democrat in Texas to be elected to the Senate in 30 years.

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

Friday night was the first debate for Cruz and O'Rourke. "I know what a sacrifice that is to his family", O'Rourke said. Cruz said it's a slap in the face to veterans.

"This is why people don't like Washington, D.C. - you just said something that I did not say and attributed it to me", O'Rourke told Cruz at one point. O'Rourke stated that his plan is to "free Dreamers from the fear of deportation", while Cruz said his stance on immigration could be summarized in four words: "legal, good; illegal, bad". Holding firm on his support for that idea, O'Rourke charged Cruz with promising to "deport each and every single Dreamer - that can not be the way that Texas leads on this issue".

Cruz was also asked whether Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh's accuser could say anything that might make him question his support for the nomination. "The allegations she has raised are serious, and they deserve to be treated with respect", Cruz said.

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

He said there has been a war on a police officers for several years, and it's troubling to see a lawmaker as prominent as O'Rourke seemingly side against law enforcement.

If O'Rourke and other candidates in close races win, they could wrest control of the Senate from Republicans too. Specifically, O'Rourke needs to get dramatically more Latinos to show up the polls in a state where a state where Latinos have far less political clout than their demographic weight would suggest.

Cook's authors did not immediately give any explanation for the ratings change, but the move follows a series of polls showing Cruz with a small single-digit lead over his insurgent opponent, who has outraised Cruz by millions since the campaign began.

"Thoughts and prayers, Senator Cruz, are just not going to cut it anymore".

The second debate will be in Houston on September 30. A Quinnipiac poll showed the gap between the two as wider, with Cruz receiving 54 percent support among likely voters and O'Rourke receiving 45 percent support. Early voting begins October 22.

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