Ted Cruz and Beto O’Rourke are set to face off tonight in the final debate from the proposed series the two men agreed to. Both men are fresh off of recent victories: Cruz’s voted to confirm Brett Kavanaugh as an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court, while O’Rourke raised a record $38 million in fundraising this quarter. The debate will occur at KENS5 Studios in San Antonio at 8 p.m Tuesday Oct 16.
SMU Debate professor Dr. Ben Voth said, “This will probably be the last time we see both men debate.”
With that the case, both politicians will look to make an impression on voters before the Nov 6 election. This debate will also be the first time they discuss their views on international issues.
The Sept 30 Houston debate was canceled because the Kavanaugh hearings’ vote was expected that weekend.
“If CNN and the O’Rourke campaign change the proposed town hall into a debate, Cruz will probably show up,” Voth said.
Sen Cruz knows he holds a large lead in the polls, despite his lower fundraising totals than Rep O’Rourke in the last quarter. Cruz also knows this town hall offers little incentive as these events have traditionally exhibited a more liberal bias compared to debates.
In the Tuesday, Oct 16 debate, Cruz may perform better than his SMU performance because incumbents typically improve their debate performances as they progress. Cruz is also a skilled debater and may have sharper rebuttals for O’Rourke.
After tonight’s debate, it may come down to O’Rourke’s fundraising flooding the media as he looks to spend his $38 million war chest. O’Rourke has already invested in some high-tech ads accusing Cruz of not being Texan enough. This clashes with Cruz’s campaign slogan “Tough as Texas.” A recent ad features Hollywood star Richard Linklater as the newest campaign star for O’Rourke.
Regardless of your politics, this debate promises to bring a few fireworks and a final opportunity for candidates to make their mark before it comes down to spending campaign finances on mudslinging ad campaigns.