On Tuesday night, U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz faced off against El Paso Congressman Robert Francis “Beto” O’Rourke in their second and likely final debate before the November election.

The hour-long debate, hosted by KTRK in San Antonio, was both fast-paced and comprehensive, with both candidates receiving the opportunity to talk about a large swath of topics, including tax reform, election integrity, border security, healthcare, and trade.

Early on, Cruz illustrated the difference between the two candidates, highlighting the chasm between the two on the issue of life.

“On the question of life, there is an enormous difference between me and Congressman O’Rourke,” Cruz noted. “On the question of life Congressman O’Rourke is on the extreme pro-abortion side. He has repeatedly voted in favor of late-term abortions. He has repeatedly voted in favor of taxpayer funding of abortions.”

According to Cruz, the son of a Cuban immigrant, O’Rourke’s pro-abortion stance puts him at odds with mainstream Texans and especially Hispanic voters.

The perpetually perspiring O’Rourke staked out liberal positions on every issue that came up during the forum, essentially taking the leftist Democrat view on every issue from immigration to climate change, even endorsing Bernie Sanders’ “Medicare-for-all” proposal, which Cruz referred to as “socialized medicine.”

According to Cruz, the proposal would lead to healthcare rationing and come at an astronomical price. Even left-wing think tanks concede the plan would require taxes to be tripled to pay for the program.

As expected—after poll numbers continue to show Cruz gaining a near-insurmountable lead in the race—O’Rourke clumsily hurled attacks, repeatedly calling Cruz “dishonest” and “all talk, no action.”

Cruz fired back.

“It’s clear Congressman O’Rourke’s pollsters told him to come out on the attack. If he wants to insult me and call me a liar, that’s fine. But John Adams famously said, ‘Facts are stubborn things.'”

Indeed, the facts did prove to be antagonistic towards O’Rourke. Cruz doubled down on highlighting O’Rourke’s vote against the bill for Hurricane Harvey relief as well his support for a $10 per barrel tax on oil, a move that would be a gut punch for Texas’ oil and gas industry and lead to a 24 cent-per-gallon increase at the pump for everyday Texans.

“Congressman O’Rourke’s record of voting against oil and gas, voting against energy, that hurts the economy [and] that hurts jobs. It’s not right for Texas,” declared Cruz.

Tuesday’s meeting between the two candidates was the second and likely the last before Election Day. O’Rourke, who initially said he welcomed any opportunity to debate his opponent, ducked two earlier debates proposed by Cruz, who originally suggested five.

The Brett Kavanaugh confirmation vote made Cruz unable to attend a debate scheduled during that time.

While the Cruz campaign offered to join O’Rourke again during his hour-long town hall hosted by CNN, the O’Rourke campaign has been silent, instead preferring an hour alone to court national attention and adoration from the left-wing media.

Cruz’s performance in the debate earned appreciation from the White House. President Donald Trump tweeted that “Beto O‘Rourke, who wants higher taxes and far more regulations, is not in the same league with Ted Cruz and what the great people of Texas stand for and want,” adding if O’Rourke is elected he would “blow it all.”

Trump will soon be coming to Texas to support Cruz ahead of Election Day, headlining a Make America Great Again rally for Cruz at NRG Arena in Houston on October 22nd, the first day of early voting.

The general election, in which Texans will decide between the two candidates, takes place on November 6.

Brandon Waltens

Brandon serves as the Senior Editor for Texas Scorecard. After managing successful campaigns for top conservative legislators and serving as a Chief of Staff in the Texas Capitol, Brandon moved outside the dome in order to shine a spotlight on conservative victories and establishment corruption in Austin. @bwaltens


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