In the WFAA show Inside Texas Politics on Sunday, Attorney General Greg Abbott deflected the idea of a face-to-face debate with candidate Tom Pauken, instead preferring to debate “with the general public” on the issues.
When asked by host Jason Whitely, “Would you debate Pauken? He’s asked for debates,” Abbott replied:
“Well, listen, I’m going to debate whoever runs anywhere. We don’t even know yet who is going to be running in the Republican primary let alone who is going to be running on the Democrat side. That’s going to be for the political pundits later. We’ll be debating the issues with the general public on an ongoing basis…”
Tom Pauken responded Monday:
“For the third consecutive week, I am again challenging to Attorney General Greg Abbott to engage in a series of Lincoln-Douglas style debates as soon as possible so that likely primary voters can begin to learn the candidates’ views about how they will govern as the next Republican governor of Texas.
“I accept the challenge issued by the Beaumont Enterprise this weekend, when they asked the candidates to “promise to give the people of Texas something they haven’t seen in years – an honest, open race for governor…We’re talking spirited debates, meetings with editorial boards and interviews with journalists. We’re talking candidates who aren’t afraid to come before Texans and discuss the issues that really matter.”
“It becomes more obvious each day that the attorney general seems content to be the $25 million man, accepting his sense of some divine right that the political pundits and other insiders decide. That’s not the way it works in Texas.
“Through my campaign visits last week in Corpus Christi, Lake Jackson, Katy, Athens, and finally in Dallas at the Texas Industrial Vocational Association, I did not debate the general public like a top-down insider might. I listened to their concerns. I asked them questions. I gave them answers. Given where they are on the issues, I believe the voters deserve and desire debates between candidates.”