Cruz voices confidence about reelection after contentious Senate debate

SAN ANTONIO — Sen. Ted CruzRafael (Ted) Edward CruzSenate advances public lands bill in late-night vote The Hill’s Morning Report – Trump’s public standing sags after Floyd protests GOP senators introduce resolution opposing calls to defund the police MORE (R-Texas) on Wednesday voiced optimism about his reelection prospects as he continued to paint his Democratic rival, Rep. Beto O’Rourke, as too liberal for Texas. 

Cruz, speaking to reporters after a private roundtable with law enforcement, highlighted his own record on immigration, taxes and education, while arguing O’Rourke has little to show over his past six years in office. 

The Senator was addressing the media a day after a contentious debate against O’Rourke.

Recent polls have showed Cruz widening his lead over the Congressman though O’Rourke has built a fundraising advantage after raising a record $38.1 million in the July-September quarter.

“I feel very good where we are. I think the people of Texas in the last month have really started to focus on this race,” Cruz told reporters Wednesday alongside Michael Helle, the president of the San Antonio Police Officers Association, which has endorsed the GOP senator.

“What was striking in last night’s debate is Beto O’Rourke couldn’t point to a single legislative accomplishment that he’s had in Congress.”

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Cruz highlighted many of the same contrasts as he did in Tuesday night’s testy, hour-long debate in San Antonio, including accusing O’Rourke of wanting open borders, sanctuary cities and “socialized medicine.”

O’Rourke had gone on the offensive during the debate on Tuesday calling out Cruz for “dishonest” attacks and calling him “Lyin’ Ted,” while disputing a number of claims Cruz has made, including that the Democrat wants open borders.

“I became convinced after that first debate that I had to draw a very clear and clean and precise distinction,” O’Rourke told the San Antonio Express-News editorial board in an interview.

At Wednesday’s press conference, Cruz decried O’Rourke’s attacks, suggesting the hypocrisy of making “personal” jabs while also calling for the need for civility.

He once again seized on O’Rourke’s previous call for President TrumpDonald John TrumpSenate advances public lands bill in late-night vote Warren, Democrats urge Trump to back down from veto threat over changing Confederate-named bases Esper orders ‘After Action Review’ of National Guard’s role in protests MORE’s impeachment after his summit with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

“It’s interesting that Congressman O’Rourke likes to talk about bipartisanship, but for him bipartisanship apparently consists of throwing insults, a lot of personal insults last night, and calling for impeaching Trump,” Cruz told reporters. “That’s not bipartisanship.”

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“By the way, it was really quite striking when he turns and calls me a liar, and then gives a lecture on civility, it was fairly astonishing to see both of those in the same breath.”

Cruz’s campaign manager Jeff Roe, speaking with reporters following Tuesday’s debate, also sounded a note of confidence about Cruz and his standing less than three weeks out from the midterm elections. 

O’Rourke and Cruz are stepping up their campaigning in the final stretch of the midterms.

The Congressman will attend a Thursday night concert where Grammy-award winning Los Tigres del Norte is performing and he’ll do an hour-long town hall with CNN.

Meanwhile, President Trump is set to visit Texas for a rally with Cruz on Monday.

Trump won Texas by 9 points in 2016 and the most recent CNN poll of the Senate race found that  the president has a positive job approval rating among likely voters.

“I think it’s very helpful and very beneficial,” Cruz said of Trump’s ability to energize voters ahead of the November election. “The extreme left is really angry. They’re energized and filled with hatred for the president.”

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