O'Rourke responded by evoking a moniker Donald Trump bestowed on the senator when the pair were bitter rivals during the 2016 Republican presidential primary. Ted Cruz as "all talk and no action" during the second - and potentially final - debate of the Texas Senate race Tuesday night.
"Well it's clear Congressman O'Rourke's pollsters have told him to come out on the attack, so if he wants to insult me and call me a liar, that's fine", Cruz snapped.
During a segment on climate change and oil taxes: "Senator Cruz is not going to be honest with you", O'Rourke said.
"He's dishonest. It's why the president called him "Lyin" Ted, ' and it's why the nickname stuck, because it's true", said the three-term congressman from El Paso, who is trailing the GOP incumbent in the polls.
Cruz laughed off the exchange saying it was obvious that O'Rourke needed to attack to try and reverse polls that show him fading.
On Tuesday, however, O'Rourke lambasted Cruz as a pawn of political action committees, urging voters to "follow the money" when analyzing the Republican senator's support of tax cuts, accusing him of contributing to income equality not seen since the Gilded Age. Cruz noted O'Rourke is "the only Democratic Senate nominee in the country who has explicitly come out for impeaching President Trump". Ted Cruz, the one-time presidential candidate whose Senate seat O'Rourke is aiming to capture next month.
Cruz and O'Rourke are locked in a tough battle for the Senate seat, but Cruz still has the upper hand in the Lone Star state.
The bit stems from an August statement from Cruz's campaign calling Beto O'Rourke a "triple meat Whataburger liberal". No Democrat has won any of Texas' almost 30 statewide offices since 1994, the nation's longest political losing streak. "It's a campaign based on fear", O'Rourke said, "It's the same person who shut down the government of the United States of America for sixteen days, perhaps because he though too many people had too much healthcare".
AUSTIN, Texas ― Democratic challenger Beto O'Rourke repeatedly attacked Sen. "He is going to make up positions and votes that I've never held", O'Rourke said during the debate in San Antonio. O'Rourke and most Democrats opposed the measure.
"Ted Cruz is for Ted Cruz", he said.
"Really interesting to hear you talk about a partisan circus after your last six years in the U.S. Senate", O'Rourke said to laughter in the audience.
"I'm against tariffs. I'm against the trade war", Cruz said. But Cruz has more recently opened up around 10-point leads.