Cruz, O’Rourke debate postponed

McALLEN — As a result of Judge Brett M. Kavanaugh’s U.S. Supreme Court confirmation votes, Sunday’s U.S. Senate debate between U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz and U.S. Rep. Beto O’Rourke in Houston has been postponed.

The Cruz campaign notified the O’Rourke campaign, and the University of Houston, which was scheduled to host Sunday’s debate, that it would not go on as previously scheduled.

The 21 senators on the Senate Judiciary Committee, which Cruz sits on, gathered Friday to hold the first of a series of votes on Kavanaugh’s nomination to the nation’s highest court. The votes, which will likely go through the weekend, begin just a day after Kavanaugh firmly and tearfully denied a sexual assault allegation in front of the committee on Thursday. Kavanaugh’s accuser, Christine Blasey Ford, also gave a tearful and compelling testimony before the committee earlier that day.

Cruz also had to cancel his Friday campaign event in El Paso because of the committee votes, according to the University of Houston.

Sunday’s debate was the second of three scheduled debates. The first, Sept. 20 in Dallas, focused on immigration, where O’Rourke discussed the hundreds of thousands of unauthorized young immigrants who have come to be known as “Dreamers.” Cruz, meanwhile, knocked O’Rourke for focusing more on the lives of illegal immigrants than on U.S. citizens.

While the fate of this second debate is unknown, the third debate has been scheduled for Oct. 16 in San Antonio. Two days after the San Antonio debate, O’Rourke will be in the Valley for an Oct. 18 CNN town hall. Early voting begins four days after the town hall.

That town hall could be O’Rourke’s final South Texas trip before the November election day. Most recently, O’Rourke was here on Sunday for an Edinburg rally that featured 2,000 people. This was by far O’Rourke’s largest South Texas crowd over his more than six Valley visits in the last 18 months.

Cruz, meanwhile, has held one campaign event in the Valley since the March primary. The National Border Patrol Council, the 18,000-member labor union for Border Patrol agents, endorsed Cruz at its RGV headquarters in Edinburg in April.

Cruz made one other trip to the Valley since then, but it was in his official capacity as a senator and in more of an emergency setting. In June, when President Trump’s family separation policy was in full effect, Cruz and his Texas Republican counterpart, U.S. Sen. John Cornyn, visited an immigration detention center in Brownsville. That was the first time the two Texas senators were in the Valley at the same time.