The Amarillo Pioneer

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Cruz Proposes Debates with O'Rourke, Including Appearance in Lubbock

The Republican incumbent in the race for Texas' U.S. Senate seat has proposed a series of debates with his Democratic opponent, including a stop in West Texas.

According to the Texas Tribune, Senator Ted Cruz (R-Texas) sent a letter to his Democratic opponent, Congressman Beto O'Rourke, on Wednesday, suggesting a series of debates ahead of the November election. The letter from the Cruz campaign suggests several debates for Friday evenings, ranging in substance from the Supreme Court to the Texas economy. The Republican is suggesting debates to take place in Dallas, McAllen, San Antonio, Houston and Lubbock. Moderators and locations for the debates were not suggested in the letter.

For the Lubbock appearance, several locations could be possibilities if the candidates chose the "Hub City" as a final location. Some locations, such as the historic Cactus Theater, have hosted debates in the past, including a debate for U.S. Congress in 2016. Other venues like the Lubbock Municipal Auditorium and various high school auditoriums in the area could also be suggested as debate locations. During his town hall events, O'Rourke has participated in forums at several school auditoriums, including in the Austin Middle School Auditorium in Amarillo.

Cruz's move comes as calls for debates between candidates up and down the ballot have been growing. O'Rourke has called for several debates with Cruz, including at least one in Spanish. Cruz had not yet addressed proposals for any of the debates. Cruz, a collegiate debater at Princeton University, was featured in debates several times during his unsuccessful bid for president in 2016.

Meanwhile, the third qualified candidate in the race, Libertarian Neal Dikeman, was not referenced as a debate participant in Cruz's letter. While the letter did not acknowledge the Houston businessman, Dikeman recently sent his own letter to the O'Rourke campaign, suggesting a series of debates to feature the Libertarian and Democratic nominees going head to head. While this is O'Rourke's first campaign for a statewide office, O'Rourke has debated Libertarian candidates before while running for the U.S. House of Representatives in El Paso. A video from a 2014 congressional debate shows the then-incumbent congressman O'Rourke debating Republican Corey Roen and Libertarian Jaime O. Perez.

In an interview with the Amarillo Pioneer, Libertarian Neal Dikeman said that he would agree to debate on Cruz's schedule and said he would like to see more debates to the proposed debate schedule.

"I would prefer to do them sooner rather than later," Dikeman said, "And we would be willing to add even more debates if the candidates would like."

Dikeman also said that he would like to see some of the Senate debates held at universities, stating that it is important to take the electoral process to those studying at Texas' largest education institutions.

"These students are voters and our nation's future leaders," Dikeman said.

All three candidates will meet for the general election in November.

Cruz, O'Rourke  Photos by U.S. News, KUT

Cruz, O'Rourke

Photos by U.S. News, KUT

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