Two days before Texas’ leading Republican candidates for the U.S. Senate are set to participate in a live television debate, a text message from one candidate to another has brought about accusations of cheating.
Former state Solicitor General Ted Cruz texted former ESPN Analyst Craig James on Wednesday afternoon with a suggestion regarding Friday's Belo Corp.-Dallas Morning News debate in Dallas, according to the James campaign.
The message from Cruz read, "Craig--hope you're well. See you Friday. For what it's worth, since you're asking me a Q, it might be worth asking me something about Dew skipping 31 debates (or something else related to his record). Just an idea... Ted."
The "Dew" to whom Cruz is referring is Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst. As in previous political debates hosted by Belo, candidates will be given a chance to ask one another questions. James campaign spokesman Meredith Turney said James had been told by debate organizers he would get to ask Dewhurst a question.
The Texas Tribune thanks its sponsors. Become one.
In a statement, James said, “Today I was put in an awkward position by Ted Cruz, a man I’ve come to know and respect. Ted sent me a text suggesting I ask him a set-up question for Friday’s United States Senate debate. In my mind, this is nothing more than an attempt to rig the system.
"This has challenged me to see if I’ll be a man of my word. I’ve campaigned that I’m going to stand for right and this is simply not right. I leave it now to the press and the public to decide whether this kind of politics is acceptable in 2012 Texas. I hope not.”
Cruz campaign spokesman James Bernsen said the text message from Cruz is a nonstory. He did not dispute the notion that Cruz sent James the text.
"Newsflash! Ted has consistently and publicly denounced David Dewhurst’s record of ducking 30 plus debates across Texas and the suggestion by Ted that another candidate join in shining light on Dewhurst’s record of hiding from Texas voters should come as no surprise to anyone," Bernsen said.
Texas Tribune donors or members may be quoted or mentioned in our stories, or may be the subject of them. For a complete list of contributors, click here.