SAN ANTONIO, Texas - Beto O’Rourke, a Democratic Congressman from El Paso challenging Ted Cruz, the incumbent Republican who currently holds the seat in the U.S. Senate in a debate broadcast from KENS5 in San Antonio, Texas.
Cruz is a lawyer and the junior U.S. Senator from Texas, replacing former Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison, R-Texas, who announced her retirement in early 2011. He is trying to win a second term in the U.S. Senate and turned the tables on every issue in the hour-long debate.
O'Rourke is a three-term congressman and with a heavy background in public service. He served on the El Paso City Council from 2005 to 2011.
The second debate started with a handshake but the gloves quickly came off. Some of the key moments during the debate included border security, tax rates and economic development.
The two tackled issues such as border security, the #MeToo movement and universal healthcare. The candidates even bickered over rebuttal time. But voters will get the final word in three weeks.
O'Rourke says that a border wall won't solve immigration and crime problems and that he's worked with Republican Sen. John Cornyn on investing in border security.
“Those customs officers are able to facilitate legitimate trade and travel that is connected to more than a million jobs in the state of Texas. Trade is the lifeblood of the state of Texas.” - Beto O’Rourke
The Texas Debate heated up when Cruz asked for more time to respond to O'Rouke's comments on supporting law enforcement.
Both candidates addressed issues on supporting Hurricane Harvey survivors physically and financially.
O’Rourke said after Hurricane Harvey, he continued to visit many of the communities that are still struggling financially. He said he voted for more than a $136 billion in aid to support those areas that were hit by natural disasters.
In regards to a bill that would have provided tax relief for Harvey victims, O’Rourke said he chose to vote against it because the tax relief was not as great as other natural disasters.
“I thought we could get a better deal,” said O’Rourke. “But I am there for those communities each and every single day. I continue to go to places like Kashmere Gardens in Houston, Texas which more than a year later is still not fully rebuilt, and I continue to wonder why Senator Cruz voted against more than $12 billion in FEMA preparedness knowing full well that we will see more Harvey’s going forward.”
Cruz helped lead the effort to pass the Emergency Tax Relief that O'Rourke spoke of. The bill gave $5 billion in emergency tax relief for families impacted by Harvey.
Cruz said at the time O’Rourke voted no to the emergency tax relief because he wanted to focus on illegal immigrants instead of hurricane relief.
Both candidates closed out the debate with messages on what they can provide to Texas residents.
In his closing statements, Cruz says the records on him and O'Rourke could not be more different.
“On taxes, I want to cut your taxes, Congressman O’Rourke wants to raise them. On job killing regulations, I want to repeal them, Congressman O’Rourke wants to increase them,” said Cruz.
Cruz mentioned he wants to keep the economic boom moving forward.
O'Rourke ended the debate with a message of inspiration.
"Whether we will remain the inspiration of the world is an open question right now," O'Rourke said. "Walls, Muslim bans, the press as the enemy of the people, taking kids away from their parents after they’ve survived a horrifying 2,000-mile journey seeking asylum here in this country; the bitterness, the partisanship, the pettiness, the dishonesty that defines so much of the national conversation – we’re in desperate need right now of inspiration."
Election Day is Nov. 6.