Ted Cruz meets with voters in Webster

Voting signs in Texas

It is the first of three debates in what's shaping up to be one of the most interesting election races in the country.

The topic of Fridays' debate is domestic policy and will be moderated by KXAS-NBC 5 reporter Julie Fine and Dallas Morning News political writer Gromer Jeffers.

U.S. Representative Beto O'Rourke and U.S. Senator Ted Cruz will debate tonight in Dallas.

O'Rourke later walked back his statements and called the proposition "artless, and even inaccurate" in his 2011 book titled "Dealing Death and Drugs: The Big Business of Dope in the US and Mexico". "Imagine the cost", O'Rourke said. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) in one of this year's most closely-watched Senate races, made the comments during a town hall Wednesday while discussing criminal justice reform.

When asked by the hosts of "The View" about his fans' reaction to him headlining for O'Rourke, Nelson replied "I don't care".

O'Rourke added that, while he and Cruz disagree on the best moves to make, he has no question that Cruz "wants to do the best for America". "If Texas elects a Democrat, they're going to ban barbecue across the state". Ted Cruz for his Senate seat in November.

"You know, they're entitled to their opinions and I'm entitled to mine", the 85 year old said. "But I think you are absolutely honest, like Bernie, that you believe in expanding government and higher taxes", Cruz said.

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O'Rourke has built his campaign around healthcare, economic inequality, and resisting Trump and Cruz's immigration policies, as well as calling for some gun-control measures including uniform background checks and banning high-capacity weapons.

Cruz went on the attack moments after stepping on the stage, saying his opponent suggested that law enforcement officers embodied "modern-day Jim Crow" laws in response to a question about Guyger.

O'Rourke said the 3.5 million DACA-enrolled and eligible illegal aliens - those protected by former President Obama's executive amnesty - needed "freeing" from deportation.

A Reuters poll of the race found O'Rourke leading 47 to 45 among likely voters, the first poll to ever show him ahead - although a Quinnipiac poll released just hours earlier gave Cruz a 54 to 45 likely voter lead. Cruz painted O'Rourke as a far-left ideologue beholden to "liberal interests".

Cruz, a onetime Ivy League debate champion, finished second in the 2016 Republican presidential primary. "I think vast majority of Texans agree on that", Cruz said.

The second debate will be in Houston on September 30.

Cruz offered no compromise on hardline immigration measures or gun control, months after a mass shooting at a high school near Houston. The deadline to register to vote is October 9.