Vol 31, Issue 47 Print Issue

Davis, Abbott Continue Back-and-Forth Over Debates

Gubernatorial candidates Greg Abbott and Wendy Davis are shown on primary night on March 4, 2014.
Gubernatorial candidates Greg Abbott and Wendy Davis are shown on primary night on March 4, 2014.

Before gubernatorial candidates Greg Abbott and Wendy Davis agree to appear on stage together for a formal debate, they’re debating the logistics: where, when and how many.

The latest twist came Wednesday, when the Davis campaign announced it had accepted six invitations to debates hosted by media outlets around the state. The six dates were different from the two accepted by the Abbott campaign last week, but both campaigns appeared willing to negotiate on at least one.

A statement from the Davis camp called the announcement an “effort to ensure that all Texans — not just a select few — have the opportunity to hear directly from both candidates.”

Last week, the Abbott campaign announced it had accepted two invitations to debates. The first was set for Sept. 19 in McAllen, and the second would take place Oct. 3, in Dallas.

The Davis campaign has proposed alternative dates — Sept. 15 or 16 — for the McAllen debate, because Sept. 19 is the opening night of The Texas Tribune Festival. In March, both Davis and Abbott were invited to appear at the Tribune Festival on that date; Davis accepted and Abbott declined.

Instead of an evening debate on Oct. 3 in Dallas, the Democratic candidate has accepted a debate invitation in Houston for noon that day — pre-sundown — “out of respect for the Jewish holiday Yom Kippur,” the release said.

The Davis camp also accepted invitations to debate in Dallas-Fort Worth, San Antonio, Lubbock and El Paso. 

Representatives from the Abbott campaign could not be reached for immediate comment. Last week, the Republican candidate declined the Davis campaign’s first six-debate proposal, calling it “eleventh-hour political theater.”