| On Monday night, Ted Cruz and David Dewhurst met in Houston for their second final debate. This one is actually the last one; there's simply no more time. That's right: we're less than a week away from the runoff election. On Tuesday, we'll which one of these cretins is our next senator.
The debate was feisty and covered the classic issue of this campaign: conservative credentials. Both candidates had strong performances, but because Cruz's was considered somewhat weaker last week, Monday's debate can be seen as a bigger success for Cruz.
Texas Tribune's liveblog of the debate caught a symbolic exchange at the end:
The candidates each got 2:30 for closing arguments.
Echoing a Dewhurst line from earlier in the program, Cruz said, ""I very much agree with my opponent. We need doers."
He spoke about his work fighting for conservative causes before the Supreme Court.
We have seen conservatives all over the state of Texas to come together in this campaign," Cruz said. He listed several conservative leaders who have endorsed before running out of time.
Dewhurst said voters need to pick the candidate with the "character, values and judgment" to represent Texas.
"If Texas were as bad as my opponent keeps saying in these ads, Texas would look like California," Dewhurst said.
"Texas is a good state. I'm proud of Texas."
Republicans may agree that Texas is a good state, but don't necessarily associate Dewhurst with its success. Dewhurst, who seems uncomfortable in social situations and rarely goes on the campaign trail, has been behind the scenes for years. He has no perceptible personality or emotional element to his campaign. He is running entirely on the myth about Texas's economy. It's not inspiring. If you want visual evidence of this, search for the "#txsen" hashtag on Twitter. By my count, Cruz' screechers outscreech Dewhurst's screechers 9:1.
There haven't yet been any last-minute polls released, and the last two show Cruz ahead. The Dewhurst camp is probably praying (literally) for a good poll to be released before Tuesday.
But the election really isn't over. Dewhurst has been absolutely wailing on Cruz via television ads, a sign of two things. First, Dewhurst knows he's not a magnetic candidate and needs to successfully define his opponent as a result of that, and second, that Cruz has gained serious ground on him. Dewhurst's latest ad released this week, "Ted Cruz Should Be Ashamed," that was immediately named Nastiest Ad of the Campaign by BuzzFeed. In it, a mother talks about her son's suicide after leaving one of Robert Mericle's brutal private prisons. Cruz represented Mericle in an unrelated case.
It's ugly, Cruz has the momentum, but Dewhurst could be chipping away at it in unseen ways. It'll be exciting to watch on Tuesday even though both candidates completely suck.