Tom Reel/San Antonio Express-News via AP, Pool

O'Rourke gets CNN town hall in bitter Texas Senate race

October 18, 2018 - 2:32 pm

By WILL WEISSERT, Associated Pres

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — Texas Democrat Beto O'Rourke is getting to make his case for ousting Republican Sen. Ted Cruz during a nationally televised, solo town hall on CNN.

The event Thursday night comes two days after the El Paso congressman scrapped his usual optimistic, bipartisan message and criticized Cruz sharply during their last scheduled debate in San Antonio.

An ex-punk rocker giving up his congressional seat to challenge Cruz, O'Rourke has shattered fundraising records and attracted glowing national attention as he tries to become Texas' first Democrat to win statewide office since 1994. But polls that once showed him staying close now have Cruz pulling away.

CNN previously offered both candidates separate town halls, but Cruz declined. The senator later said he'd like to make Thursday's event a debate, but O'Rourke didn't agree.

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