Davis Agrees to New Sept. 30 Debate With Abbott
There will be a late September debate after all between gubernatorial hopefuls Greg Abbott and Wendy Davis.
Davis' campaign announced Wednesday that it had agreed to a Sept. 30 debate in Dallas with Abbott, an event that will be sponsored by KERA, NBC5/KXAS-TV, Telemundo 39 and The Dallas Morning News.
“After a conversation with KERA this morning, we have agreed to a debate format,” said Zac Petkanas, a Davis campaign spokesman.
The two gubernatorial candidates, who are also scheduled to debate Sept. 19 in McAllen, have had a little trouble recently agreeing to appear in the same debate in Dallas.
Davis and Abbott had previously agreed to a debate sponsored by WFAA-TV, but Abbott backed out of the WFAA debate on Friday because of what one of his advisers said was "an inability to agree on specific details of the format." The debate was to be a roundtable conversation with no specific time limits for candidate remarks. (The Texas Tribune had been a partner with WFAA for that debate.)
Davis initially agreed to Abbott's format preferences for a WFAA debate, but now says she will appear in the KERA debate.
"Greg Abbott is and has been ready, willing and eager to participate in two statewide debates," Abbott campaign manager Wayne Hamilton said Tuesday. "Only after losing the debate to other outlets did WFAA ask for and receive permission from the Davis campaign to restructure the debate – something they could have done three months ago or even three days ago."
WFAA President and General Manager Mike Devlin said Tuesday that the station would no longer pursue the debate because of Abbott's unwillingness to cooperate.
“We expect people running for the governorship to behave in an honorable fashion,” Devlin said. “At a certain point when you are dealing with somebody who doesn’t keep commitments, why would we keep going back?”