In August, the Ted Cruz campaign issued one of the weirdest soundbites of the entire midterm-election season when Emily Miller, the spokesperson for the U.S. Senator from Texas, said that his Democratic opponent, Beto O'Rourke, is "like a Triple Meat Whataburger liberal who is out of touch with Texas values".
Cruz chortled. "It's clear Congressman O'Rourke's pollsters have told him to come out on the attack", he replied.
"He voted to add $2 trillion dollars", O'Rourke said while answering a question about America's debt, which has mushroomed since Republicans passed a controversial tax cut.
"He's dishonest. It's why the president called him "Lyin" Ted, ' and it's why the nickname stuck, because it's true", said the three-term congressman from El Paso, who is trailing the GOP incumbent in the polls.
Cruz wants to participate in a previously scheduled townhall featuring just O'Rourke in the U.S. -Mexico border city of McAllen on Thursday night, but it's unclear if that will come together in time. And "Lyin' Ted" was not the only Trump-style insult aired in the debate, with O'Rourke telling Cruz multiple times that he was "all talk and no action". Early on, O'Rourke accused Cruz of not being able to stand up to the president for Texans, while Cruz went on to dismiss the idea O'Rourke would be able to work with the president after expressing support for his impeachment.
But O'Rourke will need a comeback in conservative Texas, which has not elected a Democrat to statewide office since 1994.
Regarding tariffs, Cruz said he's against tariffs & trade war and said he's made the case to President Trump to expand exports.
"It's really interesting to hear you talk about a partisan circus after your last six years in the US Senate", O'Rourke fired back.
Cruz responded in kind, saying that, as a senator, O'Rourke would create a "partisan circus" by attempting to impeach Trump. He's going to make up positions and votes that I've never held or that I've never taken.
At the conclusion of the debate, O'Rourke offered a closing statement in the same vein of the soaring rhetoric that has earned him comparisons to former President Barack Obama and the late Robert Kennedy, comparisons his Republican detractors say are overblown. "I only represent the people of Texas". Do we choose fear, or do we choose hope?