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Texas Republicans Used a Punk Rock Photo to Criticize Beto O’Rourke. It Backfired on Twitter

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The race for U.S. Senator from Texas between incumbent Ted Cruz and current congressman Beto O’Rourke is tightening, with polls showing the opponents in a statistical dead heat as of Wednesday afternoon ahead of election day.

So the Texas Republican Party tried this week to get an edge on O’Rourke by circulating a series of old photos of the Democratic candidate. The series attributes O’Rourke’s seeming reticence to debate Cruz to some of his hobbies: in one, he’s posing as part of a band. In another, he’s chilling with a skateboard. The third is an apparent mugshot. (According to PolitiFact, the mugshot can be traced back to one of two mid-90s arrests; college student O’Rourke admitted to jumping a fence at the University of Texas at El Paso in 1995 and being charged for driving under the influence in 1998. Both incidences were ultimately dismissed.)

O’Rourke supporters — and even some self-identified Republicans — have responded by noting that these relatable tidbits from his past only add to O’Rourke’s appeal. A U.S. Senator with a punk-rock past seems to be an attractive concept to some vocal people online after all. And it’s inspired others to dig up footage of Cruz from his youth as well.

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Write to Raisa Bruner at raisa.bruner@time.com