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Ted Cruz and Beto O'Rourke's Sprint for the Senate Heats Up

The Texas Senate race is officially a toss-up.

|||https://www.tedcruz.org/, LOREN ELLIOTT/REUTERS/Newscomhttps://www.tedcruz.org/, LOREN ELLIOTT/REUTERS/NewscomThe fight to fill Texas' Senate seat is heating up. As of Thursday, RealClearPolitics identifies the race between incumbent Ted Cruz (R–Texas) and Rep. Beto O'Rourke (D–Texas) as a toss-up. According to the RealClearPolitics polling average, Cruz still leads his opponent by 4 points. But that lead was in double digits just a few months ago, and O'Rourke has managed to match Cruz's funding.

In the past month alone, here are some of the stories to come out of the campaign.

Beto O'Rourke is Too Cool

Both Cruz and O'Rourke have dodged several debate invitations. But when O'Rourke did not accept Cruz's challenge to debate in late August, the Texas Republican Party suggested that he was busy doing something else. The Texas GOP's Twitter account took various shots at O'Rourke, telling the world that he used to be a skater, played in a old punk band, and got a DUI.

Setting aside the DUI, several on Twitter questioned whether or not the Texas GOP was going after O'Rourke for being too...cool? Others responded by posting mugshots belonging to former Texas Gov. Rick Perry and sharing reminders that there's a picture of Cruz dressed as a creepy mime.

Unbothered by the backlash, the Texas GOP later tweeted, "Based on the reaction to our tweets we can confirm that Beto is in fact going to receive 100% of the vote from Buzzfeed contributors, out of state liberals, and people who use the word 'rad.' We feel very owned." The tweet concluded with a crying face.

Cruz also launched his own attack on O'Rourke's character with an ad criticizing the candidate for saying "fuck" in public.

O'Rourke and the Protesters

O'Rourke's support for various methods of protest have become a central focus in the race. He attracted attention, for example, for saying those who support or oppose football players taking a knee are "every bit as American, all the same."

Cruz has accused O'Rourke of supporting another kind of protest: flag-burning. When a man asked O'Rourke what he thought about burning the flag, the candidate gave a long-winded answer that included a comment that "there is something inherently American" about speaking out against injustice. The Cruz campaign cut the exchange down to make it appear as though O'Rourke believed it "inherently American" to burn an American flag.

(It should be noted that the Supreme Court ruled in 1989's Texas v. Johnson that burning an American flag is protected by the First Amendment's free speech clause. The late Justice Antonin Scalia, a conservative, was among those who voted in favor of flag-burner Gregory Lee Johnson.)

The Undocumented Immigrant Vote

A few Texas voters received text messages, supposedly sent on behalf of O'Rourke's campaign, asking if they would be willing to transport undocumented immigrants to polling stations. O'Rourke campaign spokesperson Chris Evans denied that the messages were authorized by the campaign and claimed they were "sent by an imposter."

Donald Trump Intervenes

It's no secret that Cruz and President Trump have had a contentious relationship. As opponents in the 2016 Republican presidential primary, Trump tried to tie Cruz's father to the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, insinuated that Cruz's wife is unattractive, and even tweeted the following:

Cruz responded by refusing to endorse Trump at the Republican National Convention, saying, "I am not in the habit of supporting people who attack my wife and attack my father." He reversed himself later and made volunteer phone calls for Trump's presidential campaign.

Pushing their history aside, Cruz asked Trump to campaign for him in Texas. Trump agreed and tweeted that he would find "the biggest stadium in Texas" for their joint rally in October. In response, activists have started a GoFundMe to place Trump's February 2016 tweet about Cruz on a mobile billboard.

Photo Credit: https://www.tedcruz.org/, LOREN ELLIOTT/REUTERS/Newscom

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  • KevinP||

    Beto is a gun grabber. He wants an assault weapons ban. That should fly over really well once the campaign gets started.

  • Hank Phillips||

    So there is real danger the kid will single-handedly repeal the Second Amendment? What does the Kristallnacht ball say happens if Cruz loses by 2% after the LP candidate gets 4% of the vote?

  • Rev. Arthur L. Kirkland||

    Don't worry about siphoned votes in this one -- no libertarian would vote for Ted Cruz.

  • OpenBordersLiberal-tarian||

    I admit I don't know that much about O'Rourke, except that Republicans are pouncing on his drunk driving incident. But there's no way he could be worse from a libertarian perspective than Ted Cruz. And of course, all patriotic Americans should hope Democrats win at all levels of government now that the GOP has effectively been taken over by Russia.

    #LibertariansForBeto

  • Tom Bombadil||

    Even worse, Cruz is a Cuban. Can you say 13 days?

  • creech||

    I thought he was Canadian? In any case, no matter what we libertarians think of Cruz, for him to be in a "toss up" race in Texas does not bode well for the GOP in Nov. Also reports are that the S. Dakota race is a toss up.
    Maybe Senate control will be maintained but it won't be the six or seven seat pickup they once dreamed of.

  • RazzleDazzle||

    Yeah, I don't believe it for a second. I'm in Texas and don't see a path for victory that Beto has. The polls are wrong for this race. Ted Cruz will win by 9 to 10 points most likely. Beto wining is wishful thinking.

  • NoVaNick||

    No doubt if Beto is elected, he will quickly lose the hipster image and vote along with the rest of the old fart progtards like Warren and Durbin.

  • Dillinger||

    the fuck am i supposed to believe in Robert O'Rourke when Robert O'Rourke doesn't believe in Robert O'Rourke?

  • Longtorso, Johnny||

    He asked a VFA hall to take down their American Flags before he held an event there.

  • Rev. Arthur L. Kirkland||

    Donald Trump: Ted Cruz, your wife in one ugly bitch. I mean, I don't want to say it, but she's hideous.
    Ted Cruz: Hold your tongue, sir, or I may become intemperate.
    Donald Trump: Ted Cruz, your wacko father was part of the group that killed Kennedy.
    Ted Cruz: I mean it, sir, you are testing my patience as a gentleman. Not another word . . .
    Donald Trump: Lyin' Ted. Ugly Wife. Lyin' Ted. Wacko father. Lyin' Ted. Pig for a wife.
    Ted Cruz: That does it, you scoundrel. One of these days I am going to, why, I'm gonna, I'ma do something to defend my family's honor! I may even call you a sniveling coward, or something equally serious!
    [a couple of years pass]
    Donald Trump: Hey, Ted, it's been a while. You ever gonna do something, or what?
    Ted Cruz: Yes, sir, I am. Well, I am. I'm gonna . . . I hereby invite you to campaign with me . . . I mean, sir, I mean, if that's OK with you, sir.
    Donald Trump: Good boy, Ted. You're a hell of a fine man. I can see what Professor Volokh saw in you. That Volokh's a good boy, too, you know.

  • Red Tony||

    If no one else is going to say it, I will.

    The bigoted squirrel finally found a nut.

  • Tezos||

    Well done, Rev. I am so stealing it.

  • Rev. Arthur L. Kirkland||

    We're probably an election cycle or two short before Texas has enough liberals, libertarians, and moderates to make a Ted Cruz unelectable statewide.

    The Texas electorate is improving, however, and a blue Texas is worth waiting for. It should make the electoral counts much easier.

  • Red Tony||

    And just like that, the bigoted squirrel lost his nut.

  • Dillinger||

    >>>blue Texas is worth waiting for

    human life cycle will disappoint

  • OpenBordersLiberal-tarian||

    Precisely.

    This is part of the reason I support open borders. Not only is it the correct thing to do according to libertarian principles, it will also bring enough new black and brown voters to permanently flip states like Texas. Once the Democrats get to the point where they are guaranteed to win every presidential election no matter who they nominate, the real Libertarian Moment will begin.

    #TurnTexasBlue

  • Rev. Arthur L. Kirkland||

    Bad news: Democrats are roughly as bad for libertarianism as are Republicans.

  • Chipper Jones||

    Oh, that short-lived liberal-libertarian alliance.

  • Rev. Arthur L. Kirkland||

    Fifty-plus years of forging liberal-libertarian progress in America is the best kind of short-lived.

    I predict at least a few more decades of American improvement.

  • k2000k||

    Arguably worse, I don't see the colleges and places like CNN or NYT slobbering the nobs of republicans or agitating for conservative ideals.

  • NoVaNick||

    Qui es mui macho-Beto O'Rourke y Ted Cruz?

  • Bearded Spock||

    *pedantic nitpicking* "Quien es mas macho - Beto O'Rourke o Ted Cruz?" */pedantic nitpicking*

  • NoVaNick||

    Sorry! My mom insisted I take French in high school instead of Spanish-she thought Spanish was too low class

  • Bearded Spock||

    Pensez-vous que la grammaire est un jeu?

  • Bearded Spock||

    The love the way Reason turns into squealing 13 year-old groupies whenever the subject turns to Beto.

    Cruz is going to win.

  • Rev. Arthur L. Kirkland||

    Sen. Cruz should be expected to win, as the Republican string runs out in Texas. That Sen. Cruz must step on his wife's face and reveal his lack of character by inviting Trump, however, indicates how bad the trend is for Republicans in Texas. As the great sifting continues -- more educated people in successful cities and suburbs, fewer stale thinkers in the can't-keep-up towns, diminished white influence among the electorate -- Texas seems destined to improve.

  • Hank Phillips||

    It's really a pity the Texas Constitution forbids dueling. Otherwise, with a little luck we might've gotten rid of TWO looters.

  • Tony||

    Re: come support busing illegals to the polling place!

    You guys do get that, for the most part, Republicans engage in this dirty horseshit and Democrats don't?

    All for the greater good. Ends justify the means. That's what I've learned mostly from visiting the reason comments board lately.

  • West Texas||

    You guys do get that, for the most part, Republicans engage in this dirty horseshit and Democrats don't?

    They sure do. You are correct.

    But it's also correct that the Democrats actually do bus voters to the polls and try not to pay too much attention to who's doing the voting so long as it's for the proper color team.

  • M.L.||

    Finally watched that Beto flag kneeling video, which I have skipped past countless times on Facebook as it was posted only by people that I know personally to be very stupid, mentally ill or both.

    OK, so Beto is a liar who pushes the Black Lives Matter lies and narratives.

    I can see why this video is so popular though. Liberals must cherish this small victory. They actually achieved a rousing moment at a campaign rally, almost approaching that of one of the more mild moments at a Trump rally (though probably much smaller crowd).

  • Rev. Arthur L. Kirkland||

    If you want a real crowd, go with former Pres. Obama.

    You don't even need to crop the photographs of an Obama event to make the crowd look bigger than a tiny, tiny finger.

  • M.L.||

    Anyway, it's obvious that the media has gone into overdrive hyping Beto and forcing him into national coverage, not because this race is particularly notable, but because Democrats see him as a rising star and possible 2020 challenger.

  • Red Rocks White Privilege||

    He's just another Great White Progressive Hope that the DNC pimps in red areas in an effort to flip them. He's basically the Wendy Davis of this election cycle.

    The pathetic thing about him is that his lily-white potato-muncher parents actually nicknamed him "Beto" in order to LARP as Hispanics.

  • Tezos||

    How do you compare Obama's crowds with Trump's inauguration crowd?

  • M.L.||

    "O'Rourke campaign spokesperson Chris Evans denied that the messages were authorized by the campaign and claimed they were "sent by an imposter.""

    Right -- Probably just one of the big money PACs supporting Beto. Another Hollywood carpetbagger race.

  • West Texas||

    I'm pretty sure that the "help undocumented immigrants" texts are coming from someone on the right side of the aisle.

    But as a Texas resident who has been spammed at least a half dozen times in the past 90 days by "volunteers" asking me to vote for Beto, I also see it as a clever retort. Lots of Cruz voters in Texas are annoyed by a.) the dedicated indiscriminate spamming and b.) the unclear nature of how Beto got these cell phone numbers in the first place, so it makes sense for someone to turn it around as a campaign trick.

    Independents are going to decide this race. This is still Texas and even independents in Texas don't care for illegal immigration. These dirty tricks are a clever way to push them away from Beto by turning his own methods against him.

  • John's broseph||

    I can't wait for the rest of the country to be governed like California is today! High housing costs, high poverty rates, high taxes, high electricity rates, and a political system built on racial vengeance.

  • turco||

    Huge policy differences between those two . Beto is an out and out liberal . high taxes. gun grabber. But of course all everyone talks about is that Beto is "cool" and Cruz is "creepy" .

    In any case, it seems I'll be voting for this guy www.nealdikeman.com

  • turco||

    Huge policy differences between those two . Beto is an out and out liberal . high taxes. gun grabber. But of course all everyone talks about is that Beto is "cool" and Cruz is "creepy" .

    In any case, it seems I'll be voting for this guy www.nealdikeman.com

  • West Texas||

    A lot of Beto's support is less about policy and more about personal dislike of Cruz. The independents just need to be reminded of Beto's actual politics and they'll go back to Cruz, who, in Texas, is still their natural inclination.

    This is why Cruz wants to debate and Beto doesn't, even if he says he does. Beto's best chance is just being the anti-Cruz and to not allow himself to be painted as liberal.

  • Hank Phillips||

    If Better Dead Than Ted Cruz has the cojones to debate the opposition, why not debate Neal Dikeman, the Libertarian for Senate?

  • Wrath0fKahn||

    I've cooled somewhat on Cruz, but as someone who grew up in Texas I will weep if O'Rourke gets elected. Besides the football protest speech, everything else he supports is ignorant, populist shit.

  • UncleSam13||

    Robert "Beto" O'Rourke, a won't ethic stereotype for two ethnicities: the drunk Irishman and the criminal Hispanic.

  • Hank Phillips||

    LP Senate candidate Neal Dikeman of Texas is pro-choice, for the Second Amendment--indeed the entire Bill of Rights--and is not mentioned in this imitation of an article.

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