AUSTIN, Texas — Twenty Democratic candidates duked it out on stage in Detroit this week, and there were some clear winners.  

  • O’Rourke, Castro took part in Detroit debates
  • Only O’Rourke has qualified for the next one
  • Castro has yet to qualify

By most accounts those winners were not the pair from the Lone Star State. Analysts didn't put Beto O'Rourke or Julian Castro at the top, but they weren't without a couple of stand-out moments.

 If rounds of applause were an indicator of debate success, Julian Castro had an upper hand. When it came to border security, Castro, who supports decriminalizing undocumented border crossings, called out former Vice President Joe Biden for his opposing stance.  

"What we need are politicians that actually have some guts on this issue," Castro said.   

The pressure was on for Congressman Beto O'Rourke, this debate. He had a lot riding on the Detroit stage after a weak performance in Miami. 

He pressed those candidates who support a Medicare-for-all program that he believes will force people off their existing plans.  

"I have a better path. Medicare for America. Everyone who's uninsured is enrolled in Medicare tomorrow. Those who are insufficiently insured are enrolled in Medicare," O'Rourke said.  

He even accused candidates like Montana Gov. Steve Bullock for presenting a "false choice" to voters. 

O'Rourke seemed to resonate with the audience most when he made an apparent ode to his 2018 Senate race. 

"We will listen to people not PACs, people not corporations, people not special interests," O'Rourke said.  

If the two Texas candidates were pitted against one another in Detroit, most pundits say the clear winner was Castro. 

Based on fundraising dollars and polling numbers, Beto O'Rourke has secured a spot in the next debate in Houston. Castro, while close to hitting his numbers, hasn't done so yet.