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DALLAS -- Bitter rivals for Texas Republican U.S. Senate nomination are set to square off in a debate that could shape their runoff election s final 40 days.

Tea party favorite and former state Solicitor General Ted Cruz is a fiery orator and onetime debating champion. Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst is the establishment GOP favorite but grew up with a stammer and fears about public speaking.

Friday s debate in Dallas will be the first of two planned before the July 31 runoff. More may be coming if both sides agree.

Dewhurst won last month s primary by 10 percentage points but didn t capture an outright majority in a nine-candidate field. His race with Cruz mirrors campaigns across the country that pit veteran Republicans against little-known challengers, with both sides claiming to represent conservative values.

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