Texas Gov. Greg Abbott told supporters this week that the Senate race between incumbent Sen. Ted Cruz (R) and Beto O'Rourke (D) will be a close one, the El Paso Times reported.
Although Cruz, who was elected in 2012, has consistently held a strong lead in the polls over O'Rourke, some recent surveys show that the spread could be narrowing. The University of Texas and Texas Tribune released a poll on Monday that showed Cruz with a 5-point lead over his competitor.
"It's going to be very tough, very tight," Abbott said during a telephone town hall with his supporters Tuesday.
Abbott also warned Republicans down the ticket that should not take their re-election campaigns for granted, adding that Democrats are energized.
In Texas, a Democrat hasn't won a statewide race since Lt. Gov. Bob Bullock's re-election campaign in 1994.
Where does Cruz stand on immigration?
Cruz has been a strong supporter of securing the border and cracking down on illegal immigration and drug trafficking, but he also supports keeping families together.
Last week, the senator visited some of the South Texas shelters where children are being housed separately from their parents who were caught crossing the border illegally, according to a news release.
“It is absolutely the case that children need to be with their moms and dads,” Cruz said at a news conference following a roundtable discussion with federal immigration officers, local elected leaders and others involved in caring for immigrant families.
Cruz also introduced the Protect Kids and Parents Act last week.
The proposal would mandate keeping families together who are caught entering the country illegally, double the number of immigration judges from 375 to 750, prioritize processing of immigrants who have children and provide new shelters for families while their amnesty claims are being processed.
Where does O'Rourke stand on immigration?
O'Rourke sees "immigrants as a critical source of strength and security in our communities," according to his website.
He visited a tent community where children are being housed and later led a protest on Father's Day against the separation of families, according to the El Paso Times.
"This is a decision for the country to make. Either we are going to be a country of detention camps for kids, of walls, of sending the National Guard to the border, or we are going to be better than that. But it's not decided by any means, and though we've been able to figure it out in the past, doesn't mean we're going to figure it out this time. It's on us. No one is going to do this for us," O'Rourke said, the El Paso Times reported.
He went on to add that the immigration issues are not partisan.
"It's not on the Republicans, either, and we've got to be real careful about that. This isn't on a political party. I wouldn't even say this is on this administration, although this administration has carried it to its most inhumane ... conclusion," O'Rourke continued. "But we have been ignoring this or perpetuating it for many years and many administrations right now. This has got to be on us to get it right. I think it's going to be on us, the people of the border, who do that."
What did they say about the Supreme Court vacancy?
Both candidates agreed that the news of Justice Anthony Kennedy's retirement on Wednesday has bumped the stakes in their race.
Cruz retweeted O'Rourke Thursday, adding his agreement.
"Fully agree. And the overwhelming majority of Texans want Supreme Court Justices who will preserve the Constitution & Bill of Rights, not undermine our rights and legislate from the bench," Cruz wrote.
Fully agree. And the overwhelming majority of Texans want Supreme Court Justices who will preserve the Constitution… https://t.co/sqcmmgyyds— Ted Cruz (@Ted Cruz) 1530199300.0
O'Rourke also went on a Twitter storm after Kennedy's announcement.
"In the last week alone, the Supreme Court has issued close rulings on the president's Muslim ban, on workers’ rights, on voting rights, on gerrymandering, and on a woman’s right to choose. The stakes for this nomination couldn't be higher. We have to get this right," O'Rourke said in a Twitter storm Wednesday afternoon.
In the last week alone, the Supreme Court has issued close rulings on the president's Muslim ban, on workers’ right… https://t.co/g14l4dR44W— Beto O'Rourke (@Beto O'Rourke) 1530135864.0
Cruz told Fox News that he believes Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah) should fill Kennedy's vacancy.
“I think the single best choice that President Trump could make to fill this vacancy is Sen. Mike Lee. I think he would be extraordinary,” Cruz said during the interview.
"About half of the nominees Republican presidents have put on the court have turned into trainwrecks, have turned into liberal activists. The reason why I think the best choice that President Trump could make is Mike Lee is because I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that Mike Lee would be faithful to the Constitution and Bill of Rights, that he's not going to evolve," he continued.