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Ted Cruz vs. Beto O'Rourke: The Texas Debate as it happened

Sen. Ted Cruz and challenger U.S. Rep. Beto O'Rourke went head to head Tuesday night in The Texas Debate, clashing over climate change, border control, healthcare and more.

U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) and challenger U.S. Rep. Beto O'Rourke (D-El Paso) squared off for an hour in The Texas Debate at KENS 5 in San Antonio on Tuesday night.

The candidates clashed over climate change, Supreme Court judges, border control and more. We provided updates here throughout the debate – here's a rundown of how it unfolded, by each topic, with video clips of several tense moments:

'Don't interrupt me, Jason:' Cruz pushes back at panel interruption while speaking on civility

Cruz tried to gain back control of the conversation as he answered the question about bringing back civility and respect in politics.

U.S. debt 'immoral,' Cruz says; O'Rourke criticizes tax cut

Cruz called America's deficit 'immoral,' and O'Rourke criticized a tax cut. Cruz said the tax cut he voted for, along with other Senate Republicans, won't contribute to the country's debt.

Me Too Movement

Cruz compliments the Me Too movement and stresses its importance, talking about his daughters: "I want them to be valued."

O'Rourke questions why Cruz didn't support the Violence Against Women Act. "You've got somebody who is all talk and no action," O'Rourke said of Cruz.

Partisan circus?

Sparring over judges

Cruz said O'Rourke would support judges who undermine the First and Second Amendments, while O'Rourke criticized Cruz's history of judge support.


When asked who pays for healthcare, O'Rourke says expanding Medicaid and introducing Medicare as an option on the healthcare exchange would help drive down costs.

Cruz responds by saying, "He didn't really want to answer the question of how to pay for [healthcare]. Congressman O'Rourke is proposing socialized medicine...the cost would be immense."


Border control

Watch the candidates' heated exchange over the border wall debate:

Climate changeWhen asked about climate change, Cruz says, "I believe in science...far too many Democrats approach this issue not as a matter of science but as a matter of government power. They want the power to control the economy."Cruz accuses O'Rourke of voting for an oil tax, to which O'Rourke responds: "He's dishonest and it's why the President called him Lyin' Ted and it's why the nickname stuck."Watch:

Cruz, in a rebuttal, points people to his website, where he says O'Rourke's vote is posted.

The future of Roe v. Wade?

Protecting elections

Cruz and O'Rourke took the stage, shook hands in the middle, and then returned to their podiums. Cruz won the coin toss to have the last question, so O'Rourke got the first shot with a question about protecting elections.

Cruz, in response, criticizes social media giants, such as a Facebook, of a political bias.

Watch the exchange:

Behind the scenes

Debate setup

The debate was held at the KENS 5 studios, with a small audience selected by both campaigns. Here's a look at the studios before the debate got underway:

Watch parties ready

Both campaigns also hosted watch parties in San Antonio tonight.

The final debate?

Tuesday night's debate was the second debate between the two candidates, and the last one scheduled before the Nov. 6 election. O'Rourke has planned a town hall in McAllen on Thursday, which is set to air on CNN, and Cruz's campaign staff said Tuesday that Cruz would be willing to participate. But a third event featuring both candidates hasn't been finalized.

The two held their first debate at SMU in Dallas last month, clashing over immigration, Trump and guns.

When they were asked to say something nice about each other, Cruz complimented O'Rourke for being passionate in his beliefs – much like Bernie Sanders, Cruz noted.

"True to form," O'Rourke responded.

Latest poll numbers

Tuesday night's debate came on the heels of the latest Quinnipiac University poll, which last week showed that Cruz maintains a nine-point lead, 54 percent to 45 percent. That was the same margin Cruz held in the race when the first Quinnipiac Poll was released in September.

Here's a full breakdown of the poll results, via the Texas Tribune.

On Tuesday, just hours before the debate, CNN released a poll showing Cruz with a seven-point lead, up 52 percent to 45 percent. Only nine percent of likely voters said there's a chance they could change their minds before the election, according to CNN.

More debate content

TEXAS DEBATE PREVIEW: Cruz, O'Rourke battle down stretch in closely watched Senate race

Beto O'Rourke bio and background

Ted Cruz bio and background

Ted Cruz leads Beto O'Rourke in new poll by nine points

• Breaking down Cruz's and O'Rourke's out-of-state contributions (via Dallas Business Journal)

• WFAA's one-on-one interview with Ted Cruz:

WFAA's one-on-one interview with Beto O'Rourke:

This is a live blog and will be updated continuously Tuesday night as The Texas Debate between U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz and U.S. Rep. Beto O'Rourke unfolds in San Antonio. Check back for updates.