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Round Two Could Be as Heated as First Debate

Republican Ted Cruz and Democrat Paul Sadler, candidates for U.S. Senate, will spar Friday evening in what is likely to be their last televised debate before Election Day.

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During their first combative debate this month, Democrat Paul Sadler and Republican Ted Cruz argued over whether President Obama is anti-Israel, whether Sadler is pro-gun control and whether Cruz is a troll.

The two candidates vying to replace retiring U.S. Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison will meet again in Dallas on Friday night for what is expected to be their last televised debate of the campaign, this one hosted by Dallas-area PBS affiliate KERA-TV. The Texas Tribune is a partner in the debate.

The debate will be from 7 to 8 p.m. and feature segments on four topics: health care, immigration, the economy and foreign policy. It will be broadcast live on public television and radio stations around the state and will stream live on

The first debate featuring the two men grew heated in a hurry with Sadler repeatedly interrupting Cruz and calling him “crazy,” “a liar” and, near the end, “a troll.” Cruz accused Sadler of “hectoring” and cross-examining him like a hostile witness.

The two campaigns haven’t stopped arguing since, including an extensive back and forth over gun rights. Cruz accused Sadler during the debate of not supporting the Second amendment, which Sadler denied. Amid the ensuing back and forth over who is the better friend of gun owners, Sadler asked Cruz if he hunted and mocked Cruz when he didn’t respond.

Since then, both candidates have worked to burnish their gun cred, even releasing photos of themselves with guns.

On Tuesday, Cruz announced endorsements by the National Rifle Association Political Victory Fund and Gun Owners of America.

This week’s fundraising figures showed Sadler lagging far behind Cruz in financial support. Sadler reported raising $358,734.50 in the third quarter and having $133,804 on hand. Cruz reported raising $3.5 million and having $2 million in his war chest.

Libertarian John Jay Myers and Green Party candidate David B. Collins are also running for the seat but did not meet all of KERA’s debate guidelines, according to the station.

KERA Managing Editor Shelley Kofler will serve as moderator at Friday's debate. Questions will come from a panel of journalists including Tribune Executive Editor Ross Ramsey; Peggy Fikac, Austin bureau chief for the San Antonio Express-News/Houston Chronicle; and Pedro Rojas, reporter/news anchor for Houston’s Univision station, KXLN-Channel 45.

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