Texas Senate Candidates Dewhurst, Cruz Spar in Debate

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The two Republican candidates for Texas senator, Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst and former Solicitor General Ted Cruz, faced off in a one-hour debate sponsored by Dallas PBS station KERA, according to the Texas Tribune.

Dewhurst and Cruz tout their records

Dewhurst claimed credit for the relatively strong Texas economy and for any conservative bills that have passed the Legislature during his term in office. Cruz emphasized litigating a number of politically fraught court cases, including a death penalty case that went before the Supreme Court.

Candidates spar on immigration

According to National Review, Cruz and Dewhurst sparred on "sanctuary cities," a policy by some local governments not to cooperate with federal authorities in the identification and deportation of illegal aliens. Cruz said he wanted to eliminate sanctuary cities and accused Dewhurst of killing a bill that would have done that. Dewhurst denied it. The Texas Tribune also said the candidates oppose a guest worker program, but neither gave a straight answer on what to do with illegal immigrants in the country.

Taxes and spending

The Texas Tribune says Cruz accused Dewhurst of hiking taxes and spending as lieutenant governor. National Review says Cruz accused Dewhurst of favoring a payroll tax. Dewhurst denied both charges and pointed out the Club for Growth, a Cruz supporter, has praised Texas' tax structure.

Political ads

Cruz accused Dewhurst of running $10 million in negative ads against him, according to the Texas Tribune. Dewhurst accused Cruz's "Washington insider" backers of running negative ads against him. According to the Texas Tribune, a pro-Dewhurst super PAC released an ad hours before the debate accusing Cruz supporters of not understanding how Texas really works. Dewhurst also released another ad that attacked Cruz's involvement in a lawsuit involving an American inventor and a Chinese tire manufacturer, but the specific issue did not come up in the debate.

TSA groping

The National Review points out Cruz accused Dewhurst of killing a bill that would have banned the Transportation Security Administration from "enhanced pat downs" at Texas airports, which some have compared to groping. Dewhurst claimed he was working on a stronger bill to ban TSA groping.

EPA and Texas oil and gas drilling

The Texas Tribune reports both candidates attacked the Environmental Protection Agency and its attempts to inhibit oil and gas drilling in Texas. Cruz pointed out no political candidate would side with the federal government against the Texas oil and gas industry.

Closing arguments

In the closing statements, according to the National Review, Dewhurst touted his business experience while Cruz his conservative support, especially from tea party leaders.

Texas resident Mark Whittington writes about state issues for the Yahoo! Contributor Network.

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