Sadler looks to debate to revive Texas Senate race - KFDA - NewsChannel 10 / Amarillo News, Weather, Sports

Sadler looks to debate to revive Texas Senate race

Posted: Updated:

By WILL WEISSERT
Associated Press

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — Democrat Paul Sadler is hoping to use Tuesday night's debate to convince Texas voters that Republican Ted Cruz isn't a shoo-in to win the U.S. Senate race.

Sadler insists his tea party-backed opponent is too extreme for moderates and that if he can prove that Tuesday, it'll help rejuvenate his seemingly longshot campaign in the deeply conservative state.

Sadler plans to press Cruz on his support for building a fence stretching the length of Texas' border with Mexico and his unwillingness "to protect Social Security and Medicare."

He also says that even fiercely conservative Texas doesn't support Cruz's calls to abolish the U.S. Department of Education, because it could hurt the state's students and schools, or to wipe out all of the White House-backed health care law since so many Texans don't have health insurance.

"His views, they are about as extreme as it gets," Sadler said by phone Monday.

Cruz has refused to respond to Sadler's charges. The debate "is another opportunity to champion the voices of thousands of Texans who want Washington to stop spending money we don't have and get off the backs of small business owners," said Cruz spokesman Sean Rushton.

A former Ivy League debating champion, Cruz argued cases on behalf of Texas as the state's longest-serving solicitor general from 2003 until 2008.

Though he is known for his fiery oratory, Cruz's lead might be large enough that he doesn't have to engage much with Sadler during the debate, hosted by WFAA in Dallas. It's the first of two scheduled debates.

Bruce Buchanan, a government professor at the University of Texas, said Sadler has had difficulty raising money. He said a strong debate performance by Sadler could spur donations — but it's in Cruz's interest to keep ducking his opponent's attacks so as not make too many waves before next month's election.

"Sadler has to throw some long passes here to see what he can stir up," Buchanan said.

Sadler was a state representative from 1991 until 2003. He helped bolster local authority for school districts but also backed increasing teacher salaries while reducing property taxes.

Cruz himself was once a major underdog but embraced an anti-establishment mantra and became a tea party and conservative grassroots darling to prevail in the Republican senatorial primary against longtime Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst. Cruz's unlikely victory landed him a speaking slot at the Republican National Convention.

He has since appeared at fundraisers with traditional Texas GOP stalwarts, including the woman he wants to succeed, retiring U.S. Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison.

Dewhurst even attended a Cruz fundraiser in Houston last week, and the lieutenant governor's highest-profile backer during the primary campaign, Gov. Rick Perry, plans to appear at a Cruz event Thursday in Austin.

It may look to some like he's mending fences with the mainstream party. But Rushton noted that Cruz is running the same campaign he has since the beginning, saying his candidate "continues meeting daily with Texans who understand that politicians from both parties have let us down.

  • Today's Local News HeadlinesToday's Local NewsMore>>

  • Lane Closures for the Week

    Lane Closures for the Week

    Sunday, July 27 2014 9:14 PM EDT2014-07-28 01:14:08 GMT
    Amarillo, TX - While you are out driving around this week here are some area lane closures to be aware of.
    Amarillo, TX - While you are out driving around this week here are some area lane closures to be aware of.
  • Car Seat Checkup at the Amarillo Fire Station

    Car Seat Checkup at the Amarillo Fire Station

    Sunday, July 27 2014 9:09 PM EDT2014-07-28 01:09:20 GMT
    Amarillo, TX - If your child's car seat moves when the car stops or turns, seems too small, or allows your child to get out...local agencies want to help keep your child safe.
    Amarillo, TX - If your child's car seat moves when the car stops or turns, seems too small, or allows your child to get out...local agencies want to help keep your child safe.
  • American doctor in Africa tests positive for Ebola

    American doctor in Africa tests positive for Ebola

    Sunday, July 27 2014 3:19 PM EDT2014-07-27 19:19:55 GMT
    BOONE - An aid organization says that an American doctor working with Ebola patients in Liberia has tested positive for the deadly virus.
    BOONE - An aid organization says that an American doctor working with Ebola patients in Liberia has tested positive for the deadly virus.
  • PoliticsMore>>

  • Migrants: Obama urges Latin leaders, GOP to help

    Migrants: Obama urges Latin leaders, GOP to help

    Friday, July 25 2014 7:38 PM EDT2014-07-25 23:38:15 GMT
    President Barack Obama is summoning Central American leaders to the White House to discuss the influx of young immigrants from their countries to the U.S., hoping to show presidential action even as Congress...
    Pressing for swift action, President Barack Obama on Friday urged Central American presidents and congressional Republicans to help ease the influx of minors and migrant families crossing the southwest border of the U.S.
  • Texas governor's startup fund is not all it seems

    Texas governor's startup fund is not all it seems

    Thursday, July 24 2014 2:34 PM EDT2014-07-24 18:34:51 GMT
    Texas Gov. Rick Perry has distributed $205 million in taxpayer money to scores of technology startups using a pet program designed to bring high-paying jobs and innovation to the nation's second most-populous...
    Texas Gov. Rick Perry has distributed $205 million in taxpayer money to scores of technology startups using a pet program designed to bring high-paying jobs and innovation to the nation's second most-populous state.
  • Lawmaker: Texas to send 1,000 guardsmen to border

    Lawmaker: Texas to send 1,000 guardsmen to border

    AUSTIN, Texas - Gov. Rick Perry, a vocal critic of the White House's response to the surge of children and families entering the U.S. illegally, plans to deploy as many as 1,000 National Guard troops to the Texas-Mexico border.
    AUSTIN, Texas - Gov. Rick Perry, a vocal critic of the White House's response to the surge of children and families entering the U.S. illegally, plans to deploy as many as 1,000 National Guard troops to the Texas-Mexico border.