U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz and Democratic challenger Beto O’Rourke showed up for a debate amid a hard-fought Senate race.
O’Rourke has seen increased name recognition and is seen as a legitimate threat to the incumbent Republican even in the reliably red state of Texas.
When they met on stage at Southern Methodist University in Dallas on Friday, the gloves quickly came off.
The two candidates sparred over perennial campaign issues like gun rights and immigration, which have become even more contentious in the current political climate.
O’Rourke said Cruz had lied about his record, accusing him of “slander” during the debate.
They also butted heads over current events including the stalled confirmation process of Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh.
Cruz, who sits on the Senate judiciary committee, called on Christine Blasey Ford to testify regarding her sexual assault allegations against the judge. O’Rourke said the FBI should investigate the claims and said Kavanaugh should not be confirmed for the high court.