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Are the Cruz vs. O’Rourke Debates Ever Going to Happen?

Are the Cruz vs. O’Rourke Debates Ever Going to Happen?

While voters would enjoy the chance to watch a Cruz vs. O’Rourke debate, it would be risky for both candidates.

The Texas Senate race between Senator Cruz and Rep. Beto O’Rourke has gotten a little too close for comfort (if the polling data is anywhere near accurate, which we’ve explored over the last few months here on the blog).

Cruz and O’Rourke had been in discussions for five debates.

When the first debate rolled around, O’Rourke’s team said the terms were never solidified and as a result, O’Rourke would be campaigning elsewhere, followed by a trip to California to appear on Ellen Degeneres’ talk show.

The second debate, which would’ve covered immigration, border security, criminal justice, and the Supreme Court, was tentatively scheduled for tonight, but there’s no indication that one is happening either.

Conservative activist group Empower Texas blogged:

Now, it appears O’Rourke will not be attending the proposed debate in McAllen Texas scheduled for Friday September 14. The debate was to focus on immigration, border security, criminal justice, and the Supreme Court.

O’Rourke has been criticized as vastly out-of-touch with Texans on these issues in particular, after stating he wanted to abolish the Immigrations and Custom Enforcement Agency and his desire for open borders.

Meanwhile, Cruz is slamming O’Rourke for prioritizing fundraisers in New York and Hollywood.

While Texans won’t be able to see O’Rourke on TV tomorrow night facing off against Cruz, conservative activist Mike Openshaw has an idea where he may be found–on the side of a milk carton.

While voters would enjoy the chance to watch a Cruz vs. O’Rourke debate, it would be risky for both candidates.

Cruz struggles with likability and authenticity among some voters, but is well spoken, quick, and will not be backed into a corner on any issue. O’Rourke is not well spoken, frequently uses profanity, but his less rehearsed, off the cuff demeanor makes him more personally relatable, especially among younger voters.

Not to mention that televised debates would give O’Rourke, who’s not nearly as well known as Cruz, a huge platform.

An article published in the Houston Chronicle at the end of July explored the risks to both candidates and in so many words, decided O’Rourke stands a lot more to lose by stepping onto the debate stage with Cruz:

O’Rourke has never debated a political opponent on statewide television, let alone on a national network. Yet, he’s agreeing to at least five debates in six weeks against one of the most seasoned debaters in the nation. Cruz, who was a national debate champion while attending Princeton University, has been in at least 20 nationally televised debates since 2012, including 12 presidential primary debates  11 of them including now-President Donald Trump.

As a lawyer, Cruz argued nine cases before the U.S. Supreme Court.

“Cruz’s experience will give him the ability to set a tone that O’Rourke is not likely to be able to match,” Rottinghaus said.

Not everyone is convinced the debates will offer either candidate much of an advantage because of low viewership. While political junkies are sure to tune in, potential swing voters are much less likely to watch a Senate debate than a presidential debate. Geoffrey Skelley, of the Center for Politics at the University of Virginia, said short of a major gaffe by one of the candidates, the debates are not likely to swing the election.

Another question is whether O’Rourke’s strength will carry over into the TV appearances. O’Rourke has built his campaign around a free-flowing, unstructured town-hall schedule that highlights his energy and enthusiasm. That may not come across in a more traditional debate format.

Regardless, O’Rourke has signaled his willingness to agree to the Cruz debates with a “few small changes.”

“I look forward to debating Senator Cruz and am grateful for the schedule you have proposed,” O’Rourke wrote to the Cruz campaign Friday.

Update: Ask and the internet will answer. Two minutes after your blog post goes live, but whatever.


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2nd Ammendment Mother | September 14, 2018 at 5:36 pm

Just posted about 10 minutes ago:
HOUSTON, Texas — Senator Ted Cruz and Congressman Beto O’Rourke will participate in three mutually agreed upon debates leading up to the 2018 U.S. Senate election in Texas. They will occur in Dallas on Sept. 21, Houston on Sept. 30 and San Antonio on Oct. 16. Each will be 60 minutes in length and will be conducted in the formats outlined below.

Date: Friday, Sept. 21
City: Dallas
Location: Southern Methodist University
Topic: Domestic policy
Format: Podiums, moderated with a 240 person audience

Date: Sunday, Sept. 30
City: Houston
Location: University of Houston
Topic: Domestic policy
Format: Stools, town hall style with a 250+ person audience

Date: Tuesday, Oct. 16
City: San Antonio
Location: Studio
Topic: Half domestic policy, half foreign policy
Format: Podiums, moderated with a 120 person audience

Cruz will mop the floor with “beto” in a debate. (imho)

    V.Lombardi in reply to bear. | September 16, 2018 at 7:12 am

    The adolescent Beta hoped to win just with his superficial Hollywood campaign. That not being enough, he has agreed to debates. I can’t imagine what issues the boy thinks are winners for him. I expect him to stress environmentalism.

Houston and national radio guy Michael Berry has dubbed Beto “Beto New York”, which I love.

There isn’t a single Texas value the guy has espoused.

I wish Cruz had taken a page from Clint Eastwood’s “The art of debating an empty chair” …

Of course, he should make the idea his own – perhaps tape a cardboard likeness of Beto to a yellow or pink helium balloon tied to an empty lectern … during the debate walk over and give it a flick or two … and upon conclusion of the debate, pop it or trigger it to deflate from remote, saying “I thought so” …

The only risk to Cruz would be be might die laughing

Beto will be well schooled by then not It to let his True agenda out, but Cruz will not let him get away with it.

Probably rehearsal are daily with a plethora of Hollywood actors and directors.

Streep, Deniro & Co…

Probably getting his teeth fixed too lol

    CDR D in reply to gonzotx. | September 14, 2018 at 6:02 pm

    No, I think O’Toole likes his teeth the way they are. Makes him look “Kennedyesque”…. Which might work in Mass, but in Tejas?… not so much.

Any Texas polls have to have party affiliation carefully checked. Anything less pro GOP than +3 should be discarded. Remember the pollsters have had dems looking good in TX before only to have then get massacred omg election day (like Wendy Davis).

Whoopsie doodle. Texas is totally conservative. Except when it’s not. Gosh. I guess we can blame it all on those ‘northers or the Jim Crow Yankees and those &^$# California company employees that relocated to DFW.

Funny how that happened, eh?
Sow > Reap > $$$PROFIT


Risky? Well, we can’t have that, can we?
Well, wait…….aren’t there a lot of “risky” votes in the senate?
Cruz is used to it, O’Rourke can use it for practice.

Debates are way overrated. Name one that meant anything to the final results. On facts hillary trounced Trump. Yet her demeanor was so putrid that he came out ahead, not from the facts but from the images of the debate. Don’t think for a minute that the facts matter. They don’t. Just like when Romney had the opportunity to twist the knife in obamas stomach during the Crowley debacle, he blew it because he was a gentleman. obama wasn’t and cheated with Crowley to have the wording ready to read out loud. The facts were not as important as the visuals. Nixon beat JFK on the facts but JFK won the debates. Gore beat GWB on the facts but GWB won the debates. I hate to say it but it is the same as TV or Hollywood, appearance matters.

There are three factors which will impact Ted Cruz in November:

1. Robert O’Rourke has $10 million more in his campaign now and is taking more in daily, not much from Texas but money is necessary and this will probably be the most expensive election this year, if not the most expensive in mid-term history.

2. In order to discomfort the Democrats up for re-election, McConnell has the Senate in session in October. This will keep Cruz from extensively campaigning before the election.

3. The MSM will continue to tell people how unlikable Ted Cruz is and promote Robert O’Rourke as “Kennedyesque” while ignoring his actual agenda.

    Matt_SE in reply to Edward. | September 15, 2018 at 8:59 am

    Money has almost no impact in races where the candidates are already well known. Beto’s millions will be flushed down the toilet.

2nd Ammendment Mother | September 15, 2018 at 11:44 am

All Cruz needs to do is keep hitting him as Not American

and this soundbyte isn’t going to play well at all, not even in his home district of El Paso – which while being solid Dem voting, has a very high percentage of pro-2A LTC folks.