Texas Democratic Rep. Robert “Beto” O’Rourke announced Monday that he was bowing out of debating Republican Sen. Ted Cruz later in the week because he was unhappy he didn’t get a big enough say in the terms of the scheduled debates.
Cruz’s office proposed a highly anticipated series of debates in July, covering a variety of policy topics and located in various cities throughout Texas, according to The Texas Tribute. In a letter, Cruz’s strategist, Jeff Roe, challenged O’Rourke to the following:
- “Jobs/Taxes/Federal Regulations/National Economy” in Dallas on Aug. 31
- “Immigration/Border Security/Criminal Justice/Supreme Court” in McAllen on Sept. 14
- “Foreign Policy/National Security” in San Antonio on Sept. 21
- “Energy/Trade/Texas Economy” in Houston on Oct. 5
- “Healthcare/Obamacare” in Lubbock on Oct. 12
Days later, O’Rourke agreed to the proposed terms, but insisted on adding a sixth in his hometown of El Paso, reported The Texas Tribune. Cruz offered to switch out a location to satisfy the El Paso congressman, but maintained that six debates is excessive. O’Rourke also demanded the debates not be held on Fridays, despite the Senate still being in session, making Cruz unavailable during O’Rourke’s suggested schedule. (RELATED: Ted Cruz Fires Back In Defense Of The National Anthem With New Ad)
O’Rourke publicly stated during a Texas Disability Issues Forum that he would not be participating in the first debate, which is scheduled for Friday.
“Friday in Dallas is not going to happen, but I’m convinced we will debate,” O’Rourke said. “I’m convinced there will be a number of debates.”
O’Rourke contended that the Texas Senator “attempted to dictate” too many of the terms. Despite previously agreeing to the proposal, the congressman said he wanted it to be a “more of a collaborative” effort.
“There was no debate ever agreed to for Friday,” O’Rourke’s office told The Daily Caller News Foundation. “The two campaigns are in open discussions to plan mutually agreed upon debates.”
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