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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 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.

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