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Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick Won't Debate His Challenger. But He Will Debate Geraldo Rivera On Immigration

Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon (left) / Gabriel C. Pérez
Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick has challenged Gerald Rivera to a debate over immigration.

Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick on Thursday challenged Fox News contributor Geraldo Rivera to a debate over immigration.

During an appearance on Fox News this morning, Patrick accused CNN, MSNBC, most of the print media and the Democrats of being accomplices in the murder of Mollie Tibbetts. Authorities have said the University of Iowa student was killed by an undocumented immigrant. His legal status is in dispute.

In blaming the media, Patrick specifically pointed a finger at Rivera.

“I’ve never met the guy. I seem to like him, seems like he’s got a good heart,” Patrick said. “You know, I saw him here on Fox [say], ‘Well, I feel badly about this but ...’ There is no but!”

He then challenged Rivera to a debate on immigration.

After his TV appearance, the lieutenant governor took to Twitter to provide specifics of his debate challenge, which included a date (September) and place (Fox News host Sean Hannity’s show).

Just 15 minutes later, Rivera responded.

The quick arrangement is a reminder that Patrick has so far declined to debate his Democratic opponent, Mike Collier, in the race for lieutenant governor. Collier says he wishes Patrick would debate him instead.

“Well, I think that’s almost comical, isn’t it?” Collier said in an interview with KUT. “I mean Geraldo is not running against him. If I’m not mistaken, Geraldo Rivera is a New Yorker, and if I’m not mistaken, Geraldo Rivera is a TV personality. So that debate is a farce.”

Collier said he has already accepted an invitation to a debate offered by the Fox affiliate in Houston. Patrick has not.

Incumbent Republican Gov. Greg Abbott and his Democratic challenger, Lupe Valdez, have also been unable to agree on a debate in the fall.

U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz and his Democratic challenger, Beto O’Rourke, are still negotiating debate possibilities.

Ben Philpott is the Managing Editor for KUT. Got a tip? Email him at Follow him on Twitter @BenPhilpottKUT.
Nathan Bernier is the transportation reporter at KUT. He covers the big projects that are reshaping how we get around Austin, like the I-35 overhaul, the airport's rapid growth and the multibillion-dollar transit expansion Project Connect. He also focuses on the daily changes that affect how we walk, bike and drive around the city. Got a tip? Email him at Follow him on X @KUTnathan.
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