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Allred, Gutierrez spar over border security, bipartisanship in Democratic primary for U.S. Senate

Allred, Gutierrez spar over border security, bipartisanship in Democratic primary for U.S. Senate
Allred, Gutierrez spar over border security, bipartisanship in Democratic primary for U.S. Senate 06:08

NORTH TEXAS - Colin Allred is hoping to win the Democratic primary for U.S. Senate out-right on Super Tuesday, March 5. 

"Ultimately, the goal here is to beat Ted Cruz and I'm best positioned to do that," Allred said.

After winning a crowded primary and then defeating a long-time Republican in Congress in 2018, Allred told CBS News Texas that he's remained focused on working across the aisle to get things done for North Texas:

"We don't have to be hyper-partisan to get things done and stand up for your values."

Allred, who is leaving his safe U.S. House seat in the 32nd Congressional District, is facing eight other Democrats in the March primary who want to unseat two-term Republican Sen. Ted Cruz.

Another Democrat, State Sen. Roland Gutierrez of San Antonio has been busy holding multiple public events across the state, making stops here in Plano last month and Dallas, among other North Texas cities.

He told CBS News Texas, "We have been moving throughout this state in a real way and I think that's the way you have to run, and I think that's the pathway to winning. If you're going to ask for people's support and confidence, you've got to press the flesh and talk to people and talk about their problems and what ails them."

Allred has not invited reporters in North Texas to any public events his campaign may have held locally.

When asked if he's out meeting with people and how he is spreading his message Allred said, "Are you going out and meeting people? How are you spreading your message? I've really enjoyed going around the state. I'll continue to do more of that in this run-up. Also, we're trying to reach folks where they are, whether it's on their couches, on their phones, mailboxes, or their doors."

Some political analysts say the primary is Allred's to lose because he enjoys a big lead in fundraising over Gutierrez and has also raised more money than Cruz.

In the University of Houston's Texas poll, Allred had 40 percent of the Democrats surveyed, while Gutierrez had 12 percent.

But 38 percent of those polled said they remained undecided. 

When it comes to the crisis at the southern border, both Allred and Gutierrez have different views.

Last month, Allred was one of 14 Democrats in Congress who voted for a Republican-sponsored resolution that criticized what it called President Biden's open border policies. "To me, we have a crisis at the border. This is a way for me to send a message that it is time for us to act. I don't agree with all the language in that resolution, but I'm in the minority and I don't get to dictate the language. But I also don't think the status quo is acceptable. I am criticizing it. I've communicated this to the White House many times, I think they should be much more proactive and that when you are being reactive, you're allowing for things like our Governor is doing that are extreme."

At a recent debate at the AFL-CIO in Austin, Gutierrez criticized Allred's vote. "We don't need Democrats throwing our President under the bus."

They also disagreed on a bipartisan border security bill the Senate released one week ago.

Gutierrez opposes it, while Allred supports it.

Gutierrez has also criticized Allred for supporting the Biden administration's announcement in October, that it would build nearly 20 miles of border wall in Starr County – reversing a campaign promise by the President.

The administration said it was completing the construction required by Congress when Donald Trump was President.

Gutierrez said, "There's not a border wall in the world that's going to solve what is happening at the border. Not one obstacle is going to change anything other than waist our tax dollars. We need a comprehensive immigration reform plan."

Allred said, "I've consistently said, and I want folks to know this because I think it's important, physical barriers have a role to play in border security. That is a different, in my opinion, from a wall across the entire border."

The candidates also disagree over the ongoing Israel-Hamas war.

Gutierrez is calling for a cease fire, while Allred said he is not. "What we have to remember here is that Hamas is a terrorist organization that attacked Israel on October 7th, the most deadly day in the history for Jews since the Holocaust. They took over 200 hostages, they still have over 100 hostages right now. They could release those hostages at any point, they can lay down their arms, but that's not how Hamas operates."

Gutierrez said, "I believe we should have a cease fire in Gaza and many parts of the world. To say something so simplistic as no cease fire, Israel has a right to defend itself I think minimizes the real problems that are happening in the Middle East."

He accused Israel of indiscriminate bombing in Gaza and said he believes the Hamas terrorists should be rooted out in a different way. "I think you have to ramp up the temperature in finding people through a police-like function."

Allred, who serves on the House Foreign Affairs Committee, disagreed. "I actually understand this issue. I think it's clear that some folks don't. To me, this is a military action. Israel was invaded and they're responding with military action."

Aside from policy differences, Allred and Gutierrez sit on different spectrums within the Democratic party. 

Gutierrez said, "I'm a progressive and I don't apologize for being a progressive candidate."

Allred is running more to the center.

Not only in the way he campaigns but governs. 

Allred emphasizes bipartisanship, and responded to Gutierrez who said he doesn't believe it exists. "I've had some primary opponents say that it's fake. You know it's how some primary opponents say that it's fake. You know, it's how I'm wired. I think it's probably from being an athlete, for being a team captain for most of my career at every sport I've played on every team that I was on. You have to find a way to bring folks together."

Gutierrez said, "If bipartisanship were real, that would be great, but you know in this country for the past ten years, we have seen after this post Trump era, there's not a whole lot of bipartisanship going on."

Watch Eye On Politics at 7:30am Sunday Morning ON AIR & on stream.

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One-On-One with Representative Colin Allred 16:01
One-on-one with Texas Sen. Roland Gutierrez 20:35
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