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Home | News | Election Center: Vote2018 | Ted Cruz Proposes 5 Debates with Beto O’Rourke in U.S. Senate Race
U.S. Rep. Beto O'Rourke, D-El Paso (left), is challenging Republican incumbent U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz. Marjorie Kamys Cotera: O'Rourke/Bob Daemmrich: Cruz

Ted Cruz Proposes 5 Debates with Beto O’Rourke in U.S. Senate Race

U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, has challenged Democratic opponent Beto O’Rourketo five topical debates before Election Day, about three months after O’Rourke challenged Cruz to six.

Cruz strategist Jeff Roe sent a letter Wednesday to O’Rourke, an El Paso congressman, proposing the following debate schedule:

  • Aug. 31 in Dallas on “Jobs/Taxes/Federal Regulations/National Economy”
  • Sept. 14 in McAllen on “Immigration/Border Security/Criminal Justice/Supreme Court”
  • Sept. 21 in San Antonio on “Foreign Policy/National Security”
  • Oct. 5 in Houston on “Energy/Trade/Texas Economy”
  • Oct. 12 in Lubbock on “Healthcare/Obamacare”

Roe said the debates would all take place on Friday evenings “because the Senate is expected to be in session during that time.” The debates would each be an hour long and vary in format — some would be town hall-style, while others would feature the two candidates seated or standing at podiums.

“As Senator Cruz has long believed, our democratic process is best served by presenting a clear and substantive contrast of competing policy ideas, and these five debates will be an excellent way for both you and the Senator to share your respective visions with Texas voters in the weeks leading up to the November election,” Roe wrote to O’Rourke.

O’Rourke responded in a statement to reporters: “I am encouraged that Sen. Cruz has decided that he’s ready to debate the issues. Our campaign looks forward to working with his campaign to finalize mutually agreed upon details.”

The five debates would be the most ever conducted in a U.S. Senate race in Texas, according to the Cruz campaign. A spokesperson described the proposal as “all inclusive and final,” saying the Cruz campaign is not open to negotiating the dates, locations or topics. Cruz’s team, however, is willing to work with O’Rourke’s on other details such as moderators, sponsorships and media partners, the spokesperson said.

Cruz has long expressed openness to debating O’Rourke, but his campaign has resisted making commitments until now. O’Rourke’s campaign first reached outto Cruz’s in April to start coordinating a debate schedule. The letter to senior Cruz staffers proposed six debates, including two in Spanish, and asked for a response by May 10. Though Cruz’s team did not respond directly to O’Rourke’s, Cruz told reporters at the time that his Spanish wasn’t good enough for him to debate in it.

After about two months passed without a formal reply, O’Rourke’s campaign sent another letter to Cruz’s senior staffers, nudging them on the initial proposal and offering to replace the two Spanish debates with two more English debates. Cruz’s team responded with a letter that reiterated he was looking forward to debating O’Rourke.

“However, your arbitrary timeline for coordinating between the campaigns remains irrelevant to our decision-making process,” senior Cruz adviser Bryan English wrote. “We will let you know when we are ready to discuss the details of joint appearances.”

Author: PATRICK SVITEK –  The Texas Tribune

About The Texas Tribune

The Texas Tribune is a nonpartisan, nonprofit media organization that informs Texans — and engages with them – about public policy, politics, government and statewide issues.

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8 comments

  1. I can’t wait for O’Dork to become unemployed in November!

    • #MAGA = MUELLER AIN'T GOING AWAY!

      The only dork here is you’ BUTTBLAST’ Mad Mike! Beto’s gaining on the the PAC MONEY HOG MOOCHER Ted Cruz! Texans Deserve WAY BETTER! As Ted Cruz boast about a RED WAVE! A Soviet takeover of the state of Texas.
      Beto O’Rourke IS NATIVE TEXAN! NATIVE BORN US AMERICAN CITIZEN!
      Ted Cruz depends on special interest groups cash$$$, PAC MONEY! Cambridge Analytica! NRA! and is UNFIT AND VERY EXTREMIST RADICAL FAR RIGHT NUT JOB just like the idiot that he’s busy kissing his rear end. Donald Trump, Vladimir Putin’s NAZI BOY!
      Beto O’rourke is a Hard Working Man! Family Man! and Decent Smart Politician! Ted Cruz is not even an American born citizen and has done not one damn thing for the entire state of Texas.
      VOTE HIM OUT AND SEND A STRONG MESSAGE TO JOHN CORNYN, telling him that his job is not safe!
      So Mad Mike did you ever find a job yet after your BCD from the army?

      • Typical lunacy from a retard like you, that got himself thrown out of the Navy on drug charges. I am really surprised that the moderators here, allow your obscene and uneducated rants to be published.

        • #MAGA = MUELLER AIN'T GOING AWAY!

          When you say retard you are speaking about yourself mad mike! you are the most degenerate Army imbecile drifter that Fort Bliss brought you here to the Mexican Chihuahua desert. You don’t belong in El Paso Mad Mike. You belong in Charlottesville Virginia with the rest of your Nazi Southern Rebel Confederacy BIGOT RACIST Tiki Torch White Nationalist Bearers !
          You belong over at the KVIA NAZI BIASED FASCIST RACIST pro TRUMPTURD forum! with the dysfunctional Watch Hawg! It’s as closes to Alex Jones and Breitbart that you are going to get over at KVIA! People that accuse others about things they know nothing about are very Trumpian Morons, so you found an identity for yourself while getting discharge from the Army for bad conduct!
          That is why probably you are mad and stupid 24/7 and behave moronically idiot.
          I don’t think that the moderators take sides from White nationalist racist bigots like you Mad Mike, BTW! are you related to Richard Spencer? but looks like David Duke when you wear your white cloak
          and white conical hood halloween rag costume.Did you at least finish the 8th grade?

      • No , O’Dork is a leftist that cares more about illegal aliens and he is anti-second amendment. I know that means nothing to you, as you aren’t allowed to own firearms.

        • #MAGA = MUELLER AIN'T GOING AWAY!

          Perfect Editorial yesterday on the El Paso Times! Texans deserve! better! It pretty much says that Ted Cruz is a Radical, Reckless Extremist that claims something about a red wave coming in November! Well the only red wave could be a stinking red tide that kills all the fish in the oceans water.Ted Cruz is taking away Medicaid from millions of Texans. HORDES Money for PACs! Ted Cruz has not been to all 254 Texas Counties! He probably hasn’t even been to at least 24 Texas counties since he immigrated to Texas from Canada.
          Beto O’Rourke reaches out to everyone including to reformed republicans! Not Ted Cruz, as he awaits his marching orders from the Kremlin.

  2. #MAGA = MUELLER AIN'T GOING AWAY!

    BTW! FACT CHECK YOUR COMMENTS WHEN YOU SAY that Beto O’Rourke is anti second amendment and that you are not allowed to own guns. That is what Donald Trump said about Hillary Clinton as he hinted for the second amendment people to go after and assassinate Madame Hillary Clinton who beat Trump by 3,000,000 million more votes. Same thing Donald Trump is doing now against California Congresswoman Maxine Waters, by pointing her out to the NRA and she has been receiving death threats from the far right. It’s the Popular Vote that should count, The popular vote means the WILL OF THE AMERICAN PEOPLE! as electoral college is the only way republicans can rig presidential elections. It was done in 2000,2004 and in 2016 with assistance from the Russians.
    The bottom line is that it is not true that the democrats want to take guns away from the American people,your guns. NO! that is fake propaganda lies being spearheaded by the republicans and the Russians. Since both the republicans and the Russians have now merged and itf you don’t think it’s true.
    Then why is Donald Trump hinting that it would be nice to reside inside the White House and rule for life.
    Donald Trump thinks that he is ABOVE THE LAW and that he can PARDON himself when he commits criminal acts and gets caught.
    So Stop lying Mad Mike, nobody is going to take away your arsenal assault rifles from you, stop watching FoxTURD DEEP STATE FAKE NEWS! and you won’t be so schizophrenic paranoid. Watching Sean Hannity is like slamming a bad dose of drugs! other than he makes a bad lawyer like Ruddy Giuliani.
    AMERICA IS GREAT WITH TEAM BETO O’ROURKE,ROD ROSENSTEIN and ROBERT MUELLER!
    Now we need a good democrat candidate to defeat Mike Pence in 2020.Corey Booker, Kamala Harris, Elizabeth Warren to name a few.

    • You are the best advertisement against O’Dork I have ever seen, with your insane rants. no one takes you seriously, and I would imagine that most readers, to include the moderators here, view you as little more than pathetic comedy.

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