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U.S. Senate Debate Could Shape Campaign

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DALLAS (AP) - 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.

The debate in Dallas will be the first of two planned before the July 31 runoff. 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.

(© Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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