Cruz-O'Rourke debate will be heard on WBAP this evening

Beto O'Rourke needs all you losers to show up for once

But Republican Ted Cruz has revived the accusations as he tries to defend his Senate seat against the Democratic congressman, who had said going into their first debate Friday that he won't similarly go negative.

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

Friday's debate at Southern Methodist University focused on domestic policy.

So why such a big difference in these two polls?

Their first debate Friday night reinforced Cruz's doubling down on unabashed conservatism that has proved a victor in Texas for decades, offering no compromise on hardline immigration measures or gun control, months after a mass shooting at a high school near Houston.

'I believe everyone's rights should be protected, regardless of your race, regardless of your ethnicity, ' Cruz said. Cruz understands that his victory requires overwhelming support and turnout from whites, and he believes that if his opponent is seen as representing African-Americans and their dismay with the system, it will cause a white backlash from which he will benefit.

"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. But Latino political groups say there's little evidence his campaign is spending much of that money or drawing on the energy he's generated to do the harder work of turning a large number of non-voters into voters, which is a hard task for any Democratic candidate in Texas. Now, what I think he's fighting for doesn't work, but I think you are absolutely honest, like Bernie, that you believe in expanding government and higher taxes and I commend you for fighting for what you believe in.

Of course, ridiculing O'Rourke for his name is a bold move for a man christened Rafael and makes Cruz seem a touch mean. Cruz said "absolutely", but didn't elaborate while calling the allegations serious.

Gun rights were discussed and the mass shooting at Santa Fe High School was brought up.

Cruz didn't speak to the media except to say "I thought it went great" when asked about the debate.

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

Cruz was asked whether he lost his dignity by supporting Trump after losing to him in a bruising 2016 Republican primary that saw Trump deriding the senator's wife and father. "You just said something that I did not say and attributed it to me". The two will debate twice more before Election Day.

There are two other debates - September 30 at the University of Houston and October 16 in San Antonio. But a variety of polls show that O'Rourke is staying within striking distance.

"They're entitled to their opinion and I'm entitled to mine."@WillieNelson on the criticism he received from some fans because of his support for Texas U.S. Senate Democratic candidate Beto O'Rourke: "I've been supporting Democrats all my life". The deadline to register to vote is October 9.

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