Cruz, Dewhurst Debate Friday | NBC 5 Dallas-Fort Worth

The swirling force of Texas politics

Cruz, Dewhurst Debate Friday

U.S. Senate debate could shape campaign's final days



Republican U.S. Senate candidates Ted Cruz, left, and Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst face off in a primary runoff on July 31.

Bitter rivals for Texas' Republican U.S. Senate nomination square off Friday in a debate that could shape their runoff election's final 40 days. 

Tea party favorite and former state solicitor general Ted Cruz is a fiery orator and onetime debating champion. Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst is the establishment GOP favorite but grew up with a stammer and fears about public speaking.

Friday will be the first of two debates planned before the July 31 runoff -- but more may be coming if both sides agree.

Dewhurst won last month's primary by 10 points but didn't capture an outright majority in a nine-candidate field. His race with Cruz mirrors other campaigns across the country that pit a veteran Republican against a little-known challenger, with both slides claiming to represent conservative values.