The real winner of the Texas senatorial debate: Tessie, the blind squirrel

PHOTO: Tesoro, a blind squirrel at the Stick House Sanctuary in El Paso, Texas.PlayStick House Sanctuary
WATCH Texas Senate Race 2018: Ted Cruz and Beto O'Rourke

In one of the nation’s most contentious Senate races, an unlikely rodent caught Twitter’s attention.

During Tuesday night’s debate, Rep. Beto O’Rourke and Sen. Ted Cruz were asked to share an anecdote of something they’ve done in the last year, unrelated to politics, that would provide Texans insight into the candidates.

O’Rourke mentioned playing the drums to "rock out" with his kids but also discussed joining his daughter, Molly, at a local wildlife center where she volunteers.

PHOTO: Rep. Beto ORourke, left, and Sen. Ted Cruz take part in a debate for the Texas Senate, Oct. 16, 2018, in San Antonio.AP
Rep. Beto O'Rourke, left, and Sen. Ted Cruz take part in a debate for the Texas Senate, Oct. 16, 2018, in San Antonio.

"...just went with Molly, who is nursing back to life a blind squirrel that was picked up in East Texas, dropped off in El Paso at a wildlife animal rescue run by Miss Julie. Got to meet this blind squirrel who's slowly regaining its sight."

ABC News was able to track down that squirrel at the Stick House Sanctuary in El Paso. The squirrel, named Tesoro which means “treasure” in Spanish, goes by Tessie. She came to the sanctuary in June from East Texas and multiple volunteers have been participating in her care since, including O’Rourke’s daughter.

"Miss Julie" is Julie Ito Morales, the president and wildlife rehabilitator at Stick House. While only Morales handles the animals, volunteers are responsible for cleaning out empty cages, filling bird feeders, and prepping meals, among other duties.

"They do volunteer here and they do dirty work that others wouldn’t do," she said referring to the O’Rourke family.

Currently, the sanctuary has helped Tessie regain some of her vision but she is still only able to see shadows. Morales said they will be applying for a federal permit to keep Tessie as a permanent resident squirrel, that means she will foster other squirrels and be considered an educational squirrel.

"She’s a wonderful squirrel. Very friendly," she said.

PHOTO: Tesoro, a blind squirrel at the Stick House Sanctuary in El Paso, Texas.Stick House Sanctuary
Tesoro, a blind squirrel at the Stick House Sanctuary in El Paso, Texas.

Morales said the sanctuary is dependent on the community’s volunteers regardless of political affiliation, "I appreciate them, without them we could not do what we do."

The last 24 hours have been promising for rodents in the Lone Star State as Sen. Ted Cruz tweeted out a photo of his daughter with their pet hamster which had been lost and was found after the debate.

A night, which he declared to be the "Best night ever…"

Even the love for rodents is indeed bigger in Texas.

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