The Latest: Cruz, O’Rourke trade barbs in Senate debate

SAN ANTONIO (AP) — The Latest on the Texas Senate race debate between Republican incumbent Ted Cruz and Democratic challenger Beto O’Rourke (all times local):

8:20 p.m.

Ted Cruz and Beto O’Rourke are wasting little time laying into each other in the second and final scheduled debate of a Texas Senate race that has become one of the country’s hottest — even as polls suggest it may not stay close.

O’Rourke, an El Paso congressman, has used record-setting fundraising and a background as a one-time punk rocker to attract heaps of national attention as he tries to upset Cruz and become the first Democrat to win statewide office in Texas since 1994.

Polls this summer suggested he was staying within striking distance. But Cruz has more recently opened up around 10-point leads.

O’Rourke had long stayed positive, but took Cruz to task on Tuesday for failing to criticize President Donald Trump over Russia’s meddling in the 2016 election and said he didn’t tell the truth on other issues. Cruz decried O’Rourke’s “extreme views” on abortion.


4:15 p.m.

Democrat Beto O’Rourke is hoping to reverse polls showing him fading against Republican incumbent Ted Cruz in the second debate of a Texas Senate race that’s become one of the nation’s most-watched.

O’Rourke is giving up his El Paso congressional seat to challenge Cruz and shattered Senate fundraising records with an astounding $38-plus million in the three months through September.

But polls that once showed O’Rourke staying close to a monumental upset in deep red Texas now suggest Cruz is pulling away.

Cruz kept O’Rourke on the defensive when they debated last month in Dallas, and O’Rourke, who had maintained a feel-good message, has promised a sharper tone Tuesday night in San Antonio.

It’s the race’s last scheduled debate after one in Houston was canceled amid Senate floor votes.

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