Democratic senatorial candidate Beto O’Rourke and Republican incumbent Sen. Ted Cruz faced down Oct. 16 in San Antonio at what will likely be the last senatorial debate before the Nov. 6 midterm elections.
Over the hourlong debate, the two Congress members covered the regulation of social media, the #MeToo movement, climate change and tax cuts. Both candidates came out swinging and described the other as out of step with Texas voters.
On climate change, Cruz said the climate has been changing since the dawn of time. In response, O’Rourke mentioned the animosity between his opponent and President Donald Trump in the 2016 Republican presidential primaries.
“Senator Cruz is not going to be honest with you,” O’Rourke said. “He is dishonest, and it’s why the president called him Lyin’ Ted. The nickname stuck because it’s true.”
Cruz pushed back against the congressman after being asked if Trump’s increased tariffs hurt Texas. The senator asked whether the state is better off today than it was two years ago and what it will look like in two years.
“With Congressman O’Rourke leading the way, (there will be) two years of a partisan circus, shutting down the federal government and a witch hunt on the president,” Cruz said. “That’s not good for the state of Texas.”
Despite the prior disagreements, the candidates came together on at least two questions: praising the #MeToo movement against sexual harassment and the hardships in spending time away from family.
On the #MeToo movement, both candidates said it has done a great service for victims of abuse. Cruz mentioned his involvement in introducing the Congressional Harassment Reform Act alongside Democratic Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand.
“I believe everyone, women and men, girls and boys, needs to be protected,” Sen. Cruz said.
In response, O’Rourke that Cruz did not support what O’Rourke believes to be key legislation in the protection of women, including the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act.
“Inexplicably, Sen. Cruz also voted against the Violence Against Women Act,” O’Rourke said.
In an attempt to help voters get to know the candidates, moderators asked the candidates to give an anecdote about something apolitical they have done in the last year.
Both Cruz and O’Rourke spoke about the difficulty of being away from family for the job. Cruz said he had to miss his daughter’s 4th-grade basketball games because he was voting on tax-cut legislation.
O’Rourke said Cruz’s response resonated with him. The congressman said his favorite thing to do with his children is to “rock out” with them in their basement.
The winner of this midterm senatorial election will likely be announced on election night. Early voting on campus will take place in the LBJ Student Center starting Oct. 22-4.