For over two weeks, Texans have been wondering if there would be a Lieutenant Gubernatorial debate this year. Now we have the answer, as Dan Patrick has agreed to at least one of five debates proposed by Democratic rival Leticia Van de Putte. Along with the article linked above from the Texas Tribune, here’s an official press release from the Texas Democratic Party…
Austin, TX – On July 28, 2014, Senator Leticia Van de Putte released her Texas First debate schedule. She challenged Dan Patrick to at least five debates, broadcasted across major regions of this great state.
After 15 days of silence, Dan Patrick’s staffer accepted one debate via Twitter.
Will Hailer, Executive Director of the Texas Democratic Party, released the following statement:
“After hiding for 15 days, Senator Patrick has finally agreed to a single debate with Senator Van de Putte through a staffer on Twitter. He dodged the press last week at the Texas Association of Broadcasters and even though he had more than 20 debates and forums during the primary season, Dan Patrick is running scared and has only agreed to a single debate when Senator Van de Putte proposed at least five. Patrick’s team knows that the more he talks publicly, the more Texans will reject his extremism. One debate, Dan Patrick is thinking small for Texas, where everything is bigger.”
UPDATE: The debate is set for Monday, September 29th.
Gubernatorial candidates Wendy Davis and Greg Abbott will have two debates this fall… September 19th in the Rio Grande Valley and September 30th in Dallas.
Like the TDP, Senator Van de Putte isn’t giving up on the fully proposed schedule. “I look forward to hearing from Dan on the rest of my proposal. One down, at least four to go. ¡Dale Gas!” Van de Putte’s camp said in a press release.
This is huge news for the state of Texas, which hasn’t seen a true general election debate in over a decade for the office of Lieutenant Governor. There also hasn’t been a general election Gubernatorial debate since 2006. Many people may downplay that a general election debate is really all that important, but it serves an important purpose in presenting both sides of the political argument, especially to low-information voters or those that don’t pay attention to the election until the last minute. For a very long time in Texas, voters have been trained to believe that there is only one main viewpoint in this state…. Republican. But now, with at least 3 of these events to look forward to, Texas Democrats have another measure of proof that the party is getting stronger.
Much of the pressure put on Dan Patrick’s camp to debate came from press releases and social media, and Van de Putte’s supporters have not let up. Could these debates change the scope of Texas Politics? No one knows just yet. But this year at least, Texas Democrats have a real fighting chance, instead being locked out of the ring altogether. Regardless of the final result in November, this is a win for the Party.