Texas politicians Cruz, Sadler and Castro spar in debates as national and local issues collide


“I’m impressed that we’re a few minutes into it and you’ve already now three times called me crazy,” said Republican candidate Ted Cruz in his Oct. 2 debate against Democrat Paul Sadler. This was the first televised debate between the two candidates since their primary elections in late July.

Both Cruz and Sadler are candidates for the U.S. Senate seat for the state of Texas, currently held by Senator Kay Bailey Hutchinson, who is retiring. Topics of the debate addressed issues ranging from the Bush tax cuts to foreign aid, and how these issues would affect Texans.

Both sides retaliated with negativity and sarcasm as the candidates attacked their opponent’s agendas. When Sadler criticized Cruz’s denied requests for additional televised debates, Cruz responded, “I understand that you are working very hard to get free media coverage, and it’s not our obligation to help you with that.”

Cruz, a Tea Party favorite, is expected to easily win the election in a state that has not elected a Democrat statewide since 1994.

The debate took place less than two weeks after a debate between Cruz and San Antonio Mayor Julian Castro in Austin on Sep. 22. The San Antonio Express-News called the debate a “peek at [the] future” of Texas politics, as both Cruz and Castro are considered rising stars in their party-recognition that can be attributed, in part, to their Hispanic heritage in a state whose demographics are shifting toward a Latino majority.

Cruz and Castro met to discuss the future of Texas politics, but the two also discussed national issues that affect Texans over the course of the debate. Castro defended the Obama administration against Cruz’s criticism in key issues such as the recession, job creation and taxes. The discussion shifted to local concerns as well, especially on the mayor’s proposal to raise taxes for the pre-K education of thousands of young San Antonio students.

The Pre-K 4 SA plan aims to provide quality pre-K education, mostly for economically-disadvantaged youth, and would raise the sales tax in San Antonio by one eighth of a percent, an average of $7.81 per year, per household.  Cruz was hesitant to criticize Castro’s proposal, and agreed that education should be addressed by the local government. Cruz also spoke highly of a component of the plan which is allowing it to be evaluated by San Antonio voters before being voted upon again in 8 years.

Sadler and Cruz will debate each other again on Oct. 19 before voters head to the polls on Nov. 6.