The second debate between Republican Ted Cruz and his Democrat rival Beto O’Rourke was postponed Friday.
The debate was set to take place on Sunday at the University of Houston, ahead of midterm election on November 6, The Texas Tribune reported.
That debate has now been postponed due to the ongoing battle in Washington over Judge Brett Kavanaugh’s nomination to the Supreme Court.
“Senator Cruz will be in Washington, D.C. for weekend votes,” the University of Houston said in a statement.
The university is yet to announce a new date for the second debate.
“UH, Univision 45 and ABC-13 are working with the campaigns to find a new date to reschedule,” the statement read.
The second of three debates in marquee Senate race between Texas Sen. Ted Cruz and U.S. Rep. Beto O'Rourke postponed as Senate considers Supreme Court nomination. https://t.co/th9bdR1tjs— AP Central U.S. (@APCentralRegion) September 28, 2018
The widely anticipated event was set to take place a week just over after the two senatorial candidates clashed in the first debate on September 21. In that debate, the rivals fiercely battled over issues like policing and the Second Amendment, while a frenzied crowd cheered, booed, and hooted from the sidelines.
In one climactic moment, Cruz lashed out at O’Rourke over his stance on firearms, accusing him of wanting to abolish the Second Amendment. O’Rourke responded by stating he supported moderate firearm restrictions, arguing “thoughts and prayers” aren’t enough to stop mass shootings.
“I’m sorry you don’t like thoughts and prayers,” Cruz hit back.
“I will pray for anyone in harm’s way.”
Prior to the first debate, Cruz went into the electoral race with polls suggesting an easy win. Back in May, a Quinnipiac University poll found Cruz had a comfortable lead of 11 points, with 38 percent of Texans expressing a positive view of the incumbent. Meanwhile, O’Rourke appeared hamstrung by a lack of name recognition, with only around half of Texans even knowing who he was.
Since then, the tables have started to turn.
"Beto O'Rourke has been busy since Friday's debate. This is at least his seventh Texas city in just the last few days, in a race that many political experts now call a toss-up." pic.twitter.com/6xC2hlxKI1— Beto O'Rourke (@BetoORourke) September 25, 2018
The latest poll from Quinnipiac University indicated O’Rourke is now just six points behind Cruz. Another poll from Texas Lyceum put the two candidates neck-and-neck, with Cruz at 36 percent support and O’Rourke nipping at his heels with 34 percent.
O’Rourke now “really has a chance” of toppling Cruz, according to FiveThirtyEight‘s editor-in-chief Nate Silver.
“At the moment, Cruz leads in our adjusted polling average by 3.8 percentage points; adding in the fundamentals pushes the forecasted margin to 3.3 points, a close race,” he wrote earlier today.
If O’Rourke wins, it’ll end the Democrats’ 24-year losing streak in Texan statewide races. The cumulative losses represent the longest losing streak in U.S. history and potentially reshape the electoral map.
While the second Cruz/O’Rourke is still up in the air, the third and final showdown is already slated for October 16.