Beto O’Rourke says calling Ted Cruz ‘Lyin’ Ted’ ‘was not best phrase to use’ as Texas Senate race heats up

Upstart Democrat raises millions more for Texas Senate race than Ted Cruz 

Mythili Sampathkumar
New York
Sunday 21 October 2018 21:19
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Beto O'Rourke rips into 'liar' Ted Cruz in final debate before midterm elections

Beto O’Rourke has said bringing back the “Lyin’ Ted” moniker for Senator Ted Cruz may not have been "the best phrase for me to use."

Mr O’Rourke, the Democratic candidate, and Republican incumbent Mr Cruz are facing off in a hotly contested election for the US Senate seat in Texas.

"Senator Cruz isn’t going to be honest. He’s dishonest. That’s why [Trump's] nickname [Lyin' Ted] stuck — because it’s true,” Mr O’Rourke said during the CNN town hall and debate last week.

Donald Trump had coined the nickname for then-opponent Mr Cruz during the 2016 presidential election.

Mr O’Rourke admitted after the debate he may have taken it a “step too far” with bringing up the nickname.

He said it was the “heat of the moment” as Mr Cruz went on the offensive right out of the gate, attacking the upstart Democrat who has surprised even experienced politicos.

Texas nominee Beto O'Rourke explains why NFL players kneeling for the national anthem is not disrespectful

Mr O’Rourke is widely considered an insurgent and energetic opponent.

The Texas Tribune reported Mr O’Rourke’s campaign team has raised $23.6m (£18m) to Mr Cruz’s $15.6m (£12) between January 2017 and 31 July 2018. The US House member who was a virtual unknown outside of the state until just a few months ago raised a total of $38m in the last quarter.

In other words, Mr O’Rourke has raised more money than any other Democratic candidate in the 2018 midterms election.

Though Mr Trump and Mr Cruz were seemingly bitter rivals - the president hit out at Mr Cruz’s wife Heidi and her appearance - the president came to his fellow party member’s aid as Republicans fight to retain control of the US Senate in races around the country.

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Mr Trump called Mr O’Rourke a “lightweight” and a “flake”.

The El Paso native said he would not respond directly to the president’s comments on the campaign trail.

"The bitterness, name-calling, partisanship … you can add more to it or you can stay focused on the future and why you did this in the first place," he told ABC’s This Week programme.

A few weeks ago, the Cook Political Report, a newsletter which analyses elections, campaigns, and polling data, said the race was a “toss up” after previously labelling the race as “leans Republican”.

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