The first debate between U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz (R) and U.S. Rep. Beto O’Rourke (D-El Paso) was a high-energy, sharp affair that crackled with each candidate’s dislike of the other.

U.S. Rep. Beto O'Rourke

U.S. Rep. Beto O’Rourke

U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz

U.S. Sen. Ted

Poised and prepared, they argued their cases to their own bases in performances that confirmed everything their supporters and detractors believed about them. Moderators Julie Fine and Gromer Jeffers Jr. Topics asked pointed questions about immigration, police brutality and anthem protests, gun control, the Brett Kavanaugh nomination and the President’s job performance, among other domestic policy issues.

O’Rourke, who has heretofore kept his campaign positive and upbeat, was combative and tense during the hourlong event at Southern Methodist Univ. in Dallas.

Libertarian nominee Neal Dikeman was not included in the debate. In a series of tweets, he provided a list of reasons why the candidates were “glad I wasn’t on the debate stage,” which included “Ted wouldn’t have been able to pretend he’s a Libertarian.”

Cruz and O’Rourke will debate in Houston on September 30 and in San Antonio on October 16.

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