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Time for the debate about debates to begin

It’s getting to be debating season.

Sen. Wendy Davis

Sen. Wendy Davis

Democratic Sen. Wendy Davis on Tuesday proposed a series of six debates with Republican Attorney General Greg Abbott in their race for governor.

Her proposal came after Abbott earlier said he had accepted two invitations for debates in McAllen in September and in Dallas in October.

Davis envisions a series of debates from July through October in the Rio Grande Valley, Dallas-Fort Worth, San Antonio, El Paso, Houston and Lubbock.

In a letter to Abbott dated Tuesday, she said she would like at least two of them to be issue-specific debates focused on education and economic opportunity.

Davis proposed at least two 90-minute town-hall formats “with a technology partner and social media engagement;” at least one community college with a local media partner “on a weekend so parents can attend;” and at least one English-Spanish simulcast.

I’ve got Davis’ letter to Abbott beneath the fold. It’s interesting to me that Abbott made the first move by accepting the media-sponsored debates in McAllen and Dallas. I suspect that’s one part confidence in his oratorial skills, one part bravado about “competing” for the Latino vote, and one part recognition that maybe he can’t hope to hide in a corner like Rick Perry did. Davis had already come under some questioning for not immediately jumping to accept the two debates on offer, but she apparently had bigger things in mind. Let’s see how Abbott plays it from here. The Austin Chronicle and the Monitor have more.

Dear General Abbott,

This November, Texans will elect a new governor for the first time in 14 years. Given the choice they face this fall, all Texans – not just a select few — should have the opportunity to hear directly from the two of us in order to compare our records and visions for moving Texas forward. Your campaign’s public commitment to multiple debates gives me confidence that you share my eagerness to engage as many voters as possible in this manner before Election Day.

In that spirit, I propose a series of debates that reach every part of the state and that are accessible to all Texans through a variety of platforms and venues. This comprehensive debate proposal will allow communities from regions across Texas to hear a lively exchange of ideas on the critical issues of the day, including giving our kids a 21st century education and an economy built with the jobs of tomorrow.

My proposal is as follows:

  • Six debates
  • Beginning in July and spread through August, September and ending in October
  • At least two issue specific debates: education and economic opportunity
  • Proposed locations:
    o Rio Grande Valley
    o Dallas-Fort Worth
    o San Antonio
    o El Paso
    o Houston
    o Lubbock
  • At least two 90 minute town hall formats with a technology partner and social media engagement
  • At least one community college with a local media partner on a weekend so parents can attend
  • At least one English/Spanish simulcast

Texas is the second largest state in the nation and I believe that six debates will give people from all parts of the state an opportunity to see for themselves which of us will fight harder for all Texans.

Furthermore, it is my strong preference that the first debate occur in the Rio Grande Valley in the month of July and be hosted by the McAllen Monitor in partnership with KGBT-TV Action 4 News and KTLM Telemundo 40. Additionally, we would like to discuss other debate invitations including those from KERA and WFAA.

I have authorized two advisors to serve as my representatives and request that your designated representatives email my communications director Zac Petkanas at xxxxxxxx by 12:00 PM noon CT on Wednesday, May 21, 2014 to accept my invitation to plan a comprehensive debate series.

I look forward to hearing from your team soon.

Wendy Davis

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One Comment

  1. joshua ben bullard says:

    charles kuffner=every media outlet under the texas sun has long since updated the wendy davis picture except you,can you post a current pick rather than one thats like 4 years ago?joshua bullard