- Associated Press - Tuesday, October 30, 2018

AUSTIN, Texas — Texas Senate hopeful Beto O’Rourke is appearing on an MSNBC town hall, the second time in less than two weeks that a candidate seen as a rising Democratic star gets to make a nationally televised case for ousting Republican incumbent Ted Cruz.

Tuesday’s event from Houston comes as O’Rourke shattered Senate campaign fundraising records, including raising $38-plus million for the three-month period between July and September, despite shunning donations from outside political groups.

A onetime punk rocker giving up his El Paso-based House seat to challenge Cruz, O’Rourke is trying to become Texas’ first Democrat to win statewide office since 1994.

But polls that once showed him closing in now have Cruz consistently ahead.

After two debates with Cruz, O’Rourke appeared solo on a CNN town hall earlier this month.

The Cruz campaign said it wanted to debate Mr. O’Rourke on CNN and that he declined the offer. The Cruz camp then declined a solo appearance. It was unclear if MSNBC had extended an offer similar to the one that led to Mr. O’Rourke’s upcoming show, according to the campaign.

James Varney contributed to this report.

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