Ted Cruz Just Handed Beto O'Rourke a Major Advantage in Their Tight Senate Race for No Apparent Reason

Ted Cruz Just Handed Beto O'Rourke a Major Advantage in Their Tight Senate Race for No Apparent Reason

Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) has pulled out of planned televised debate with his Democratic challenger Beto O'Rourke in the upcoming midterm election, the network announced Tuesday afternoon.


So instead of appearing alongside the sitting senator and exchanging jibes and pointed attacks, O'Rourke will have an hour-long town hall on the network instead, without interruption from his opponent. 

It's a bizarre move for Cruz, who is believed to have an advantage in the deep-red state, though O'Rourke is perceived as an unusually strong candidate in the traditionally safe Republican stronghold. Allowing his opponent to have an uncontested platform to discuss his views — and cast Cruz's own views in the least favorable light — on a major cable network in prime time for free seems to be an unforced error on the part of the Republican lawmaker.

Cruz could believe that appearing alongside his opponent only presents downsides as he remains the incumbent and the favorite in the race. But Cruz, who has made much of his own skill in debate and penchant for ideological grandstanding, has rarely shied away from debates in the past. He has previously relished the opportunity to debate taxes and health care with independent Sen. Bernie Sanders on CNN and has already debated O'Rourke once during the 2018 campaign.

A new report from the New York Times suggests there might be fractures emerging in Cruz's once-reliable electorate: evangelical voters.

The story quotes one woman reflecting on the troubling policies of the Trump administration:

“I care as much about babies at the border as I do about babies in the womb,” said Tess Clarke, one of Ms. Mooney’s friends, confessing that she was “mortified” at how she used to vote, because she had only considered abortion policy. “We’ve been asleep. Now, we’ve woke up.”

Enjoy this piece?

… then let us make a small request. AlterNet’s journalists work tirelessly to counter the traditional corporate media narrative. We’re here seven days a week, 365 days a year. And we’re proud to say that we’ve been bringing you the real, unfiltered news for 20 years—longer than any other progressive news site on the Internet.

It’s through the generosity of our supporters that we’re able to share with you all the underreported news you need to know. Independent journalism is increasingly imperiled; ads alone can’t pay our bills. AlterNet counts on readers like you to support our coverage. Did you enjoy content from David Cay Johnston, Common Dreams, Raw Story and Robert Reich? Opinion from Salon and Jim Hightower? Analysis by The Conversation? Then join the hundreds of readers who have supported AlterNet this year.

Every reader contribution, whatever the amount, makes a tremendous difference. Help ensure AlterNet remains independent long into the future. Support progressive journalism with a one-time contribution to AlterNet, or click here to become a subscriber. Thank you. Click here to donate by check.

Close