Ex-Trump strategist calls Beto O'Rourke a beta male

Former Trump campaign data strategist Matt Braynard clashed with Hill.TV host Krystal Ball Wednesday after he referred to Texas Senate candidate Rep. Beto O'RourkeBeto O'RourkeGabbard hits DNC over poll criteria for debates ABC unveils moderators for third Democratic debate The Hill's Morning Report - Trump hews to NRA on guns and eyes lower taxes MORE (D) as a "beta guy" on "Rising."

"The media has created this character," Braynard told Ball and co-host Buck Sexton. "This likable guy, sort of this beta that they really want to see succeed."

"I think that's part of his appeal to so many journalists is that they want to see a beta guy like him succeed," he continued. "Metrosexual, beta, whatever," he added.

Democratic strategist Jennifer Holdsworth interjected, saying calling Sen. Ted CruzRafael (Ted) Edward CruzIs this any way for NASA to build a lunar lander? GOP strategist predicts Biden will win nomination, cites fundraising strength 3 real problems Republicans need to address to win in 2020 MORE (R-Texas) an alpha male was "toxic masculinity."

"There's a lot of things I would say about Ted Cruz, but I think he's a public servant, and I wouldn't deem to insult his masculinity," Holdsworth, chief revenue officer at DSPolitical, said. 

"I think what you just did is really gross, by the way. I just want to say that," Ball said. "And saying the media wants to create that?" 

"What are you trying to say about him?" she asked. 

"His appeal of being hipster and young to try to convince people to vote for him is a very different approach than what Ted Cruz is doing," Braynard responded. "The appeal that he's created about being young and millennial." 

"Young and millennial means beta?" Ball said. 

"Yeah, that's where I'll go with that," Braynard responded. 

Braynard later issued a statement to Hill.TV, explaining the remark. 

"I describe O'Rourke as a 'beta' because that term is for guy who is immature. And from hiding from police after getting busted for a DUI, refusing to admit it years later, to cursing like a misfit teenager at public events to desperately seeking substance-free celebrity on social media, O'Rourke cements his 'beta' status," Braynard said. 

The back-and-forth comes after Cruz and O'Rourke took part in a heated televised debate on Tuesday less than three weeks out from the midterms.

While O'Rourke is trailing Cruz in the polls, he raked in $38 million in fundraising in the third quarter of the year.

— Julia Manchester