Republican candidates for the United States Senate from Texas, Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst and former Solicitor General Ted Cruz, met in a televised debate on July 17, according to TV station WFAA in Dallas.
The debate was free-form and confrontational. According to the WFAA account, the format of the debate, which featured the candidates seated at a table with a single moderator, with no podiums, no rules, and no time limits. The two candidates clashed on a number of issues, both political and personal.
According to the Associated Press, Cruz supported building a border fence across the southern United States to inhibit the flow of illegal immigration. When the moderator suggested that such a fence would cost $7.3 billion, Cruz continued to support the idea. Dewhurst supported spending billions on tripling the size of the Border Patrol.
Of greater contention was a speech Dewhurst made in 2007 that supported a guest worker program that has vanished from the official Texas government website. Cruz suggested that something fishy was going on, but Dewhurst claimed that the removal was part of routine maintenance of the site and that the speech was available to anyone who applied by phone or email to his office.
Cruz's China court case
The subject of Cruz's representation of a Chinese tire company in a suit involving an American inventor and copyright infringement came up, according to the Houston Chronicle. This case has been the subject of a Dewhurst negative ad campaign in which he accused Cruz of siding with the Chinese against an American businessman. Cruz responded by suggesting that Dewhurst, a wealthy man, may have investments in the same sorts of Chinese companies which he is attacking Cruz for representing.
Points of agreement
Both Cruz and Dewhurst, who are running as conservatives, agreed on the need for border security, a strong national defense, and the need to repeal the health care reform law, according to an analysis of the debate by the blog First Things. At contention seem to be personal and style differences. Cruz is a tea party favorite, supported by Sarah Palin and Sen. Jim Demint. Dewhurst is a more conventional conservative supported by Gov. Rick Perry.
Dewhurst picks up Leppert endorsement
According to WFAA, after the hour long debate was concluded, Dewhurst picked up the endorsement of former Dallas Mayor Tom Leppert, who had run against both Dewhurst and Cruz in the primary. Dewhurst had launched a harsh attack ad against Leppert, accusing him of running "like a Democrat," and was thus obliged to make amends to garner his endorsement.
Texas resident Mark Whittington writes about state issues for the Yahoo! Contributor Network.