Speaking to reporters at Dallas' Southern Methodist University after Friday night's debate, O'Rourke says that when he defends NFL players' right to protest during the national anthem, Cruz likens it to endorsing burning of the US flag.
Those ambitions were part pf the topics of Friday's debate, which was focused on Domestic policy. The reports stated that a witness told police O'Rourke was driving at a "high rate of speed", lost control and hit a truck, careened into oncoming traffic, and then tried to drive away from the scene.
O'Rourke began by praising Cruz's work ethic and his family's sacrifice.
This was the first time O'Rourke has challenged reports of the incident. "And I commend you for fighting for what you believe in".
"Texas is a tough state to poll (lots of new residents, low turnout among certain voting groups, may be hard to reach Spanish-speaking voters)", Nate Silver, editor-in-chief of FiveThirtyEight, said on Twitter.
The surprisingly close U.S. Senate race in Texas is growing more combative, and Republican Sen.
"I'm sorry that you don't like thoughts and prayers", Cruz said.
Cruz has criticized O'Rourke as a liberal out of touch with Texan values. "When you are leading the extreme left wing wanting to impeach. the president, that does not set you up for policy wins for Texas".
"I've got a responsibility, which is to fight for everybody here and every person in this state", he said.
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O'Rourke also called Texas the "epicenter" of the issue. "Vast majority of police officers are courageous, honorable, and risk their lives keeping us safe; it's wrong to smear them as racists". A Quinnipiac poll showed the gap between the two as wider, with Cruz receiving 54 percent support among likely voters and O'Rourke receiving 45 percent support.
National attention in the race has grown as O'Rourke has raised more money than Cruz.
O'Rourke's campaign has said he was in no way referring to the police, but Denton County Sheriff Tracy Murphree isn't buying it.
On the issue of the allegation against Kavanaugh that he sexually assaulted a woman when they were teenagers, Cruz was asked if there was "anything [accuser] Christine Blasey Ford could say" that might lead him to oppose Kavanaugh. O'Rourke portrayed Cruz as someone who is "captured" by corporations and special interests.
Cruz and O'Rourke will face off again September 30 in Houston and October 16 in San Antonio.
During the 2016 presidential race, the moderators reminded the audience, Mr. Trump savagely attacked Mr. Cruz as "Lying Ted", while Mr. Cruz characterized Mr. Trump as an inveterate liar himself. That is when Cruz proposed five topical debates over three months in five cities.
Texas has been in the headlines for two high-profile mass shootings over the past year - one in November 2017 at a church in Sutherland Springs and another in May at Santa Fe High School, outside of Houston.
So why such a big difference in these two polls?