Dem challenger presses Cruz to set debate date

Dem challenger presses Cruz to set debate date

Sen. Ted CruzRafael (Ted) Edward CruzSunday Talk Shows: Lawmakers look ahead to House vote on articles of impeachment, Senate trial The Hill's Campaign Report: 2020 Democrats trading jabs ahead of Los Angeles debate Senate Republicans air complaints to Trump administration on trade deal MORE (R-Texas) has yet to confirm a time for a debate with his midterm challenger Rep. Beto O'RourkeBeto O'RourkeButtigieg picks up third congressional endorsement from New York lawmaker Klobuchar hires staff in Nevada Deval Patrick enters 2020 race MORE (D), despite two months passing since the Democrat first challenged the incumbent. 

The Dallas Morning News reported on Wednesday that O'Rourke's office released a pair of letters this week noting Cruz's lack of movement in regards to a debate between the Senate candidates. 

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"On April 24, we extended an invitation to Senator Cruz to participate in six debates — including two in Spanish — reaching all twenty media markets in the state," O'Rourke's campaign manager, Jody Casey, wrote on Monday, according to the newspaper. 

Casey added that "because Senator Cruz recently indicated that he is uncomfortable debating in Spanish, our campaign would be happy to add two additional debates in English instead."

The Dallas Morning News reports that 60 days have passed since the O'Rourke campaign's initial invite. Casey reiterated the request in a second letter, which Bryan English, a senior adviser to the Cruz campaign, acknowledged Cruz's office received.

English said that Cruz would let O'Rourke know when they “are ready to discuss the details of joint appearances” saying that the congressman's “arbitrary” timeline was “irrelevant” to the decisionmaking process of the Cruz camp.

"As you pointed out in your second note, the Senator has made it quite clear he is looking forward to debating Congressman O'Rourke," English said. "However, your arbitrary timeline for coordinating between the campaigns remains irrelevant to our decision-making process.

"We will let you know when we are ready to discuss the details of joint appearances."

The Dallas Morning News notes that many news outlets in Texas have offered to host a senatorial debate. There are four months until the midterm election.

Cruz has repeatedly said he'd debate O'Rourke, but that he'd do it closer to Election Day. He has pointed to his past debate against Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersSanders 'outraged' after MLB threatens to cut ties with minor league teams Booker leads other 2020 Dems in petition urging DNC to change debate qualifications Democrats threaten to skip next debate over labor dispute MORE (I-Vt.) as a sign that he's not "remotely afraid to debate left-wing liberal socialists."

O'Rourke, who has represented Texas’s 16th District since 2013, has gained some traction in his fight to unseat Cruz. In a poll conducted in late June, Cruz led O'Rourke by 5 points.