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Will Texas Voters See Any Other Statewide Debates Ahead Of Midterm Elections?

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Gov. Greg Abbott, left, has agreed to debate Democratic gubernatorial candidate Lupe Valdez in September.

Gov. Greg Abbott has agreed to debate Democratic gubernatorial candidate Lupe Valdez in September, but what about other Republicans holding statewide offices?

Abbott and Valdez have tentatively agreed to a statewide televised debate on Sept. 28, and both campaigns are still working out the details. But what about the contest between say Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick and his Democratic challenger Mike Collier?


Manny Garcia, deputy executive director of the Texas Democratic Party, said Democratic candidates like Collier have challenged Republicans to debate them, but so far they've been met only with silence.


“Democrats up and down the ballot are in single digits of their Republican opponents, and we ought to talk about it in a debate setting,” Garcia said.


Garcia is referring to the June University of Texas/Texas Tribune poll that shows Patrick polling only 6-percent higher than his Democratic opponent.  


But Mark Jones, political science professor at Rice University, said Patrick’s campaign could still be open to a debate.


“He doesn’t want to be seen as ducking a debate when Greg Abbott is agreeing to a debate, although it may be on a very unpopular night with very limited coverage, perhaps only live-streamed,” Jones said.


U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz’s campaign said they are still working out the details, but have yet to set a date for a debate between Cruz and his Democratic rival Beto O’Rourke.


Jones said that as far as other statewide debates are concerned — like a debate between the Texas attorney general and his Democratic opponent — those probably won’t happen before the Nov. 6 election.  


Ryan Poppe can be reached at rpoppe@tpr.org or on Twitter @RyanPoppe1

Ryan started his radio career in 2002 working for Austin’s News Radio KLBJ-AM as a show producer for the station's organic gardening shows. This slowly evolved into a role as the morning show producer and later as the group’s executive producer.