UPDATED: June 5
A spokesman for U.S. Senate candidate David Dewhurst’s campaign told Manny Fernandez of the New York Times that the Lieutenant Governor did not actually offer to debate Ted Cruz in Spanish, but rather, the idea was Univision’s.
Univision’s video report (full clip and more details explanation below) explicitly said:
Dewhurst, who speaks Spanish, has challenged Cruz, the Cuban-American attorney and Tea Party favorite, to a debate in Spanish.
Still, Dewhurst spokesman Matt Hirsch told Fernandez that his candidate “is interested and intrigued by Univision’s suggestion.”
Cruz released a statement (as both Fernandez and Kolten Parker of the Houston Chronicle reported) that said, “in any language, parece que el Senor Dewhurst les tiene miedo a los votantes.” (“It seems like Mr. Dewhurst is afraid of Texas voters”).
The two candidates have since agreed to two debates in English, as Aman Batheja of the Texas Tribune reported. The Dallas PBS affiliate KERA will hold one on June 22, while the Dallas ABC affiliate WFAA will host the candidates on July 17.
ORIGINAL POST: June 4
Republican U.S. Senate candidate David Dewhurst may have aggressively—and inaccurately—attacked his rival Ted Cruz’s position on immigration amnesty before last week’s primary election, but that doesn’t mean he isn’t courting the Hispanic vote for July’s runoff.
Univision’s summary of the story says that Dewhurst is “a white, non-Latino native of Houston who speaks Spanish,” while Cruz is “a second-generation Cuban-American who’s uncomfortable speaking in his father’s native tongue.”
“I would welcome a debate with Lieutenant Governor Dewhurst in any form, but I think we would have a better debate if we did the debate in English,” Cruz said. “Look, my Spanish is a situation that many of your viewers will recognize,” Cruz went on to explain. “I grew up [in the United States] speaking ‘Spanglish.’”
Dewhurst spoke mostly Spanish in the Univision segment. He comes off rather woodenly, but then, that might not be a language issue. He also winks at the (unseen) female reporter at the end.
If nothing else, both candidates should be eligible for a free pepperoni pizza Tuesday.
Watch the video below: