O'Rourke to appear solo in CNN town hall

O'Rourke to appear solo in CNN town hall

Texas Sen. Ted CruzRafael (Ted) Edward CruzGillum reached out to O’Rourke amid 2020 speculation: report O'Rourke spoke with Al Sharpton amid 2020 speculation O’Rourke is fireball, but not all Dems are sold MORE (R) has declined an offer to participate in an upcoming CNN town hall while his Democratic Senate challenger Rep. Beto O'RourkeRobert (Beto) Francis O'RourkeGillum reached out to O’Rourke amid 2020 speculation: report The Hill's 12:30 Report — Trump searches for next chief of staff | Congress, Trump dig in for funding fight | Why O'Rourke worries some Dems O'Rourke spoke with Al Sharpton amid 2020 speculation MORE has agreed to participate, according to the network.

"Sen. Ted Cruz's campaign initially accepted CNN's invitation to participate" but has since declined, CNN said in an announcement. The town hall in McAllen, Texas, on Oct. 18 will be hosted by chief political correspondent Dana Bash.

A spokesperson for Cruz directed The Hill to a tweet by Jeff Roe, Cruz's campaign manager, but declined to comment further.

"To be clear, the Cruz campaign proposed that @CNN host one of the Cruz-O’Rourke debates. The O’Rourke campaign declined. @CNN subsequently offered back to back town halls, in which we are unable to participate," Roe wrote in the tweet.

The network will also be offering up two debates this month: A debate Oct. 16 featuring Sen. Bill NelsonClarence (Bill) William NelsonMore than 6000 mail-in ballots in Florida were not counted: officials Rick Scott funded three-quarters of his Senate campaign, to tune of .6M Manchin’s likely senior role on key energy panel rankles progressives MORE (D) and his GOP challenger Gov. Rick Scott in the Florida Senate race, which will be moderated by anchor Wolf Blitzer from Tampa, Fla.; and another Oct. 21 between Florida gubernatorial candidates former Rep. Ron DeSantisRonald Dion DeSantisGillum reached out to O’Rourke amid 2020 speculation: report Lewandowski, Florida state senators tussle over Trump's influence on midterms: report Can the climate movement survive populism? Lessons from 'yellow vest' protests MORE (R) and Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum (D), a one-hour debate moderated by anchor Jake Tapper, also from Tampa.

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Cruz was critical of CNN earlier this year after one of its graphics accused him of being "afraid" to go on the network by attending a town hall about school shootings and guns following the Parkland, Fla., mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.

"What are they afraid of?" the graphic asked in calling out Cruz, along with Sen. Marco RubioMarco Antonio RubioDems have new moniker for Trump: ‘Unindicted co-conspirator' John Kelly’s exit raises concerns about White House future Rubio: We don’t need direct evidence crown prince ‘ordered the code red’ on Khashoggi killing MORE (R-Fla.) and Gov. Rick Scott (R-Fla.).

 
"You can accuse me of many things, but being afraid of CNN is not one of them," Cruz wrote on Twitter in February.

Cruz and O'Rourke are locked in a tight race in deep-red Texas, with the Republican leading by 6 points in the RealClearPolitics polling index.

--Updated 3:09 p.m.