O'Rourke to appear solo in CNN town hall

O'Rourke to appear solo in CNN town hall

Texas Sen. Ted CruzRafael (Ted) Edward CruzTrump, Democrats risk unintended consequences with impeachment arguments Impeachment trial to enter new phase with Trump defense Jordan says he thinks trial will be over by next week MORE (R) has declined an offer to participate in an upcoming CNN town hall while his Democratic Senate challenger Rep. Beto O'RourkeBeto O'RourkeVeronica Escobar to give Spanish-language response to Trump State of the Union address Biden calls for revoking key online legal protection Trump mocks Booker over suspended presidential campaign 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 NelsonThe most expensive congressional races of the last decade Lobbying world Bottom Line 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 DeSantisFlorida Supreme Court rules convicted felons must pay fines, fees before voting Florida moves to purchase land to protect Everglades from oil drilling Top Latino group: Trump is about to hold a 'fake Christian campaign rally' 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 RubioDes Moines Register endorses Elizabeth Warren as Democratic presidential nominee Commerce Department withdraws Huawei rule after Pentagon pushback: reports  Veronica Escobar to give Spanish-language response to Trump State of the Union address 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.