Texas Sen. Ted CruzRafael (Ted) Edward CruzSenate confirms four Biden ambassadors after delay Overnight Health Care — Presented by Carequest — Colin Powell's death highlights risks for immunocompromised The Senate confirmation process is broken — Senate Democrats can fix it MORE (R) has declined an offer to participate in an upcoming CNN town hall while his Democratic Senate challenger Rep. Beto O'RourkeBeto O'RourkeSupport for governors sliding in states without vaccine mandates: survey Abbott bans vaccine mandates from any 'entity in Texas' Abbott disapproval rating up 8 points to 59 percent in San Antonio area: poll 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.
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. https://t.co/HCULTtUnpW— Jeff Roe (@jeffroe) October 9, 2018
The network will also be offering up two debates this month: A debate Oct. 16 featuring Sen. Bill NelsonClarence (Bill) William NelsonDemocrats face growing hurdles in bid to oust DeSantis NASA adviser quits after request to change name of James Webb telescope denied NASA won't rename James Webb Space Telescope despite controversy 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 DeSantisRon DeSantisFlorida school district to relax mask mandate for high school students Miami Herald: DeSantis descending into 'anti-vaxx Crazyville' Trump-endorsed candidate leading GOP field to replace Crist in Florida: poll MORE (R) and Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum (D), a one-hour debate moderated by anchor Jake Tapper, also from Tampa.
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 RubioHillicon Valley — TikTok, Snapchat seek to distance themselves from Facebook Rubio calls for federal investigation into Amazon employee benefits Senate GOP campaign arm outraises Democratic counterpart in September MORE (R-Fla.) and Gov. Rick Scott (R-Fla.).
Gosh, I seem to recall doing not 1, not 2, but THREE town hall debates w/ @BernieSanders on @CNN Each 90 min long. You can accuse me of many things, but being afraid of CNN is not one of them.... https://t.co/we6HBY0oQ9— Ted Cruz (@tedcruz) February 15, 2018
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.