AUSTIN, Texas (AP) -- The two candidates vying for Texas' open U.S. Senate seat are trading repeated and increasingly heated barbs during their first debate.
Former Democratic state Rep. Paul Sadler called his heavily favorite opponent, tea party backed Republican Ted Cruz, inexperienced as the pair squared off Tuesday night at WFAA in Dallas.
He said one of Cruz's claims about entitlement programs was "the craziest thing I've ever heard."
Cruz responded by saying that he admired Sadler's courage for "running an unapologetically liberal campaign."
The former state solicitor general also said Sadler would consider raising taxes on "every single Texan who pays income taxes."
The moderators then struggled to prevent open bickering back and forth.
A poll released before the debate by a nonpartisan group showed Cruz leading Sadler by 26 percentage points.