DALLAS — With 49 days until the November election, Democratic U.S. Senate nominee M.J. Hegar has challenged incumbent Republican John Cornyn to three televised debates, including one hosted by WFAA that would air on 13 major television stations across the state owned by TEGNA and reach 87% of Texans.
“We owe Texas voters multiple opportunities to hear Senator Cornyn and me debate our plans for Texas. We all know John Cornyn hasn’t had to face the voters in some time, which is why Texans are counting on him to buck up and participate in three televised statewide debates ahead of the November 3rd election,” said Hegar in an emailed statement on Tuesday.
“Senator Cornyn has agreed to debate M.J. Hegar, and we look forward to considering other opportunities,” said Travis Considine, a spokesman for the Cornyn campaign.
The U.S. Senate race is the highest profile one on the ballot in Texas this fall.
Hegar said she has agreed to attend the statewide debate hosted by WFAA in Dallas, another debate by Austin television station KXAN on Oct. 9, and an event hosted by Spectrum News.
But Cornyn, so far, has only agreed to the televised debate in Austin.
"We're gonna debate at least once, and I'm happy to do more," said Cornyn on Sept. 3, according to a Tweet by the Texas Tribune’s Patrick Svitek.
Reacting to Hegar’s debate demands on Tuesday, Cornyn’s campaign chastised her for skipping multiple candidate forums in the Democratic primary earlier this year.
She defeated a crowded field of candidates to emerge in July as the Democratic nominee.
Hegar, a combat veteran, polls below Cornyn but Texas Democrats said they remain optimistic about their chances in the November elections.
Early voting begins in less than a month, on Oct. 13. Election Day is Tuesday, Nov. 3.