O'Rourke to appear solo in CNN town hall

O'Rourke to appear solo in CNN town hall

Texas Sen. Ted CruzRafael (Ted) Edward CruzInviting Kim Jong Un to Washington Trump endorses Cornyn for reelection as O'Rourke mulls challenge O’Rourke not ruling out being vice presidential candidate 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'RourkeTrump endorses Cornyn for reelection as O'Rourke mulls challenge The Hill's 12:30 Report: Trump escalates fight with NY Times Sanders on Trump insult: Crazy that president 'is a racist, a sexist, a xenophobe and a fraud' 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 Nelson2020 party politics in Puerto Rico There is no winning without Latinos as part of your coalition Dem 2020 candidates court Puerto Rico as long nomination contest looms 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 DeSantisOvernight Health Care — Presented by National Taxpayers Union — Drug pricing fight centers on insulin | Florida governor working with Trump to import cheaper drugs | Dems blast proposed ObamaCare changes Florida GOP governor working with Trump to import cheaper drugs from Canada DeSantis formally asks Trump to base Space Command in Florida 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 RubioInviting Kim Jong Un to Washington Venezuela closes border with Brazil The Hill's 12:30 Report: Trump escalates fight with NY Times 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.