ATHENS (CBSDFW.COM/AP) — Democratic Rep. Beto O’Rourke says he’s sticking with not running negative attacks heading into his first debate with Republican Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas.

The debate Friday is the first of three that Cruz and O’Rourke have agreed to hold before Election Day. National attention in the race has grown as O’Rourke raises more money and polls suggest a surprisingly competitive race.

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Texas hasn’t elected a Democrat to the U.S. Senate since 1988. Cruz and allies have run attacks that include accusations O’Rourke pushed a project on the El Paso City Council that would benefit family.

O’Rourke has denied the accusations, and an attorney who filed failed ethics complaints against him in 2006 called the ads misleading.

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O’Rourke says voters are tired of negative campaigning and won’t do it himself.