Cruz, ORourke clash over immigration, Trump, guns during intense debate

U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz R-Texas and Democratic opponent Beto O'Rourke will meet in their first debate Friday evening at Southern Methodist University in Dallas

The debate, the first of three scheduled between the two candidates, will be held Friday evening at Southern Methodist University in Dallas and will focus on domestic policy.

O'Rourke recorded 0.136 and 0.134 blood alcohol levels on Breathalyzer tests, the records said. You may know the challenger better by the name Beto O'Rourke.

His comments kicked off a series of debates for the US Senate race in Texas.

Botham Jean, the 26-year-old man shot and killed by Dallas Police Department patrol officer Amber Guyger on September 6, was an early debate topic. Dallas police subsequently leaked the claim that Jean possessed a small amount of marijuana in his home in a blatant attempt to tarnish his image and retroactively justify the murder.

In August, Caucasian Texas former cop Roy Oliver was found guilty after gunning down unarmed black teenager Jordan Edwards was riding in a vehicle with his brother and friends after a party.

"The driver attempted to leave the accident but was stopped by the [witness]", a police officer wrote, according to the police report.

O'Rourke, 45, responded that the accusation was 'simply not true'.

Cruz's strategy in the debate highlighted how O'Rourke's star-making candidacy can be been a double-edged sword for Democrats.

During the debate, O'Rourke supported the rights of NFL players who have protested during the National Anthem, comparing them - as he did weeks ago in what became a viral video - to protesters in the civil rights movement.

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Cruz offered no compromise on hardline immigration measures or gun control, months after a mass shooting at a high school near Houston.

Democrats haven't won a Texas statewide office since 1994, but the ex-punk rocker O'Rourke is staying closer to Cruz than anyone expected.

"The challenge for O'Rourke is to show that he is more than just a charisma candidate, that he's more than just a pretty face or an empty suit, that he really does have command of the policy issues", Wilson said.

Appearing at Southern Methodist University, the candidates exchanged rhetorical blows on just about every single question, showing off sharp differences that have always been evident in the race. "But I think you are absolutely honest, like Bernie, that you believe in expanding government and higher taxes", Cruz said.

"I've got a responsibility, which is to fight for everybody here and every person in this state", he said. "I will pray for anyone in harm's way, but I'll also do something about".

Cruz drew O'Rourke's ire when he suggested that O'Rourke, in supporting protests of police brutality by National Football League players, favored burning the American flag.

Cruz also said school shootings are a result of "removing God from the public square", and he called for more armed police officers in schools.

O'Rourke, meanwhile, has been open about his 1998 arrest for drunken driving in El Paso, but said for the first time Friday that he did not try to flee the scene, as a witness suggested in the police report.

"This race is most likely to be determined in suburban districts of Dallas, Austin, Houston, San Antonio", Matthew Wilson, a Professor of Political Science at SMU, told ABC News, "If Beto O'Rourke is going to win he's going to have to persuade a lot of moderate, traditional Republicans to cross party lines".

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