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Senate Race Heats Up As Latest Poll Shows O'Rourke Pulling Even With Cruz

Marjorie Kamys Cotera/Bob Daemmrich
U.S. Rep. Beto O'Rourke, D-El Paso, left, is challenging Republican incumbent U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz.

Rhetoric between Republican incumbent U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz and his Democratic opponent Beto O’Rourke is growing sharper as the voter margin between them narrows and the midterm elections loom.

According to the latest poll by Emerson College in Boston, O’Rourke is in a statistical dead heat with his Republican rival. The poll — conducted from Aug. 22-25 with a margin of error of plus or minus 4.4 percent — has Cruz with 38 percent of the vote, O'Rourke with 37 percent and 21 percent of respondents undecided.

With the race heating up, Cruz criticized O’Rourke’s popularity and fundraising efforts at a campaign event in Georgetown, just north of Austin.

“He’s getting millions of dollars flowing in from Hollywood and all over the country, but it doesn’t reflect the commonsense values of Williamson County or the rest of Texas,” Cruz said.

O’Rourke, speaking with reporters outside a town hall event just a few miles away, said it is Cruz who has taken money from political action committees and outsiders.

“Our average monthly donation was $33 and yet from 215,714 individual contributions we raised to his $4.4 million," O’Rourke said. "... This is a campaign of, by and for the people of Texas."

Both campaigns said they are still in discussions over the terms of the candidates' first debate.

Ryan Poppe can be reached at rpoppe@tpr.org or on Twitter @RyanPoppe1