Cruz, O’Rourke Debate in Dallas

Senator Ted Cruz is on his way to the first debate against his Democratic challenger tonight, after a campaign stop in Webster on Thursday.  About 400 people showed for the event at Franca's Real Italian Restaurant.  Cruz hopes to keep pulling away from challenger Beto O'Rourke in his race for re-election in November.

Tonight, the eyes of Texas will be upon Dallas, where Sen. Ted Cruz and Congressman Beto O'Rourke will square off Friday night in the first of three scheduled debates in that hotly contested U.S. senate race.

Some argue Sen. Cruz should not give Beto O'Rourke a platform.

“For Cruz, I think he wants to produce a knockout blow and he needs to be able to pin O’Rourke down to some of the more liberal positions,” says Dr. Brandon Rottinghaus, political science professor at the University of Houston.

Cruz is also a college debate champion with more than 20 major debates under his belt, just from the 2016 presidential race.

“It’s something Cruz has done so many times in the Senate debates, in Texas and also on the national stage, so O’Rourke is really going to have to practice and make sure he understands and really masters that format.”

Rottinghaus says O'Rourke simply wants to introduce himself on national stage and hammer home a unifying message.

“O’Rourke’s approach is to be a little more broad, talk about bigger ideas, bring in Texas-inclusive values instead of getting into nitty-gritty details on policy,” says Rottinghaus. “If Cruz wants to make this a debate about legislative procedure than it’s clear that he’s going to win.

The pair will next hold a town hall-style debate at the University of Houston September 30.

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