Cruz, Dewhurst agree to debates

Marilyn Tennissen Jun. 5, 2012, 6:31am


The two candidates in a primary runoff to be the Republican nominee for the U.S. Senate race have agreed to at least two debates.

Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst and former Texas Solicitor General Ted Cruz will participate in two televised debates before the July 31 primary runoff.

Dewhurst and Cruz were the top vote getters from a field of eight in the primary race to replace retiring Republican Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison. Neither received enough votes to win outright, prompting the runoff on July 31.

Both candidates confirmed Monday that they will participate in debates hosted by ABC affiliate WFAA and PBS affiliate KERA, both based in Dallas. Partners in the KERA debate include the Texas Tribune, Hearst Newspapers and Univision.

After the May 29 Republican primary Cruz challenged Dewhurst to participate in five debates before the runoff.

The KERA debate is scheduled for 8 p.m. June 22. Negotiations are also underway for the candidates to appear on WFAA ABC-Channel 8 in Dallas, according to the Dallas Morning News.

An off-camera remark made by Dewhurst last week started rumors of a debate in Spanish. Dewhurst was speaking to an Univision reporter, who told Dewhurst that Cruz did not speak fluent Spanish.

The lieutenant governor was once a CIA officer in Bolivia, and speaks fluent Spanish. Cruz said he grew up speaking a mix of Spanish and English, and was not comfortable debating in Spanish. They agreed there would be no Spanish-language debate.

In the meantime, both candidates are bringing out their big name supporters. Former presidential candidate Rick Santorum will appear June 8 at a Dallas country club on behalf of Cruz.

Gov. Rick Perry, another former presidential candidate, is touting his support of Dewhurst on the radio and other outlets.

In November, the Republican winner will face either former state Rep. Paul Sadler or retired educator Grady Yarbrough, the two Democrats to make it out of their primary.

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