Ted Cruz and Congressman Beto O'Rourke are meeting at SMU in Dallas for the first of three debates.
Each candidate displayed the sort of strengths that have earned them the praise or enmity of the opposing camp.
This morning, Cook Political Report - a top independent analyst - shifted its rating of the contest to "toss up," a stunning blow to Cruz and Republicans after decades of GOP dominance in Texas. Early on, for instance, the candidates squared off on gun control legislation and the 2nd Amendment.
O'Rourke went first and noted that both he and Cruz have small children - and it's tough to leave them to do their jobs.
Cruz has also criticized O'Rourke's defense of National Football League players who have kneeled at games in protest of police brutality.
Cruz then likened O'Rourke to former Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders. Cruz said that O'Rourke was "out of step" with Texans as a liberal.
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He is set to serve an automatic one-match suspension which will rule him out of the home game against Young Boys on October 2. However, Express Sport understands Juve are confident it won't get to that stage.
O'Rourke called for the FBI to investigate Ford's claims, something that Senate Republicans have resisted, and argued that Kavanaugh's nomination should be rejected. He also said that O'Rourke was more to the left on policy than Sen.
Looming over the race is the omnipresence of President Trump.
President Trump will visit Texas in October to stump for Cruz.
That election was "one like no other", Mr. Cruz said with a smile, before saying after it he "faced a choice". "Cruz, for your public service".
At the same time, Mr. O'Rourke insisted he could work with Republicans and Mr. Trump when they sought common goals.
"Following what we thought what was the end of that injustice at the end of the civil war, that injustice", he added, "too many more people here than I know firsthand, continues to persist today".
Mr. O'Rourke, in turn, did not deny he favors higher taxes but stressed instead a format he said favors the wealthy and stands as a misguided move for a nation deeply in debt.