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Greg Abbott Passes on Wendy Davis' Debate Proposal

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    NEWSLETTERS

    NBC 5 News
    Greg Abbott (R), left, and Wendy Davis (D), right, give speeches after being named their parties candidate for Texas governor.

    Democrat Wendy Davis proposed Tuesday that she and Republican candidate for governor Greg Abbott take part in six debates before voters elect a new governor in November.

    Abbott's camp issued a quick response and said they were only interested in the two debates to which they were committed.

    In a letter to Davis, Abbott's camp said they must "respectfully decline" before ending the letter with the statement, "We hope you can recognize the need to participate and engage with Texas voters across our state."

    Abbott began this week by calling on Davis to join him in accepting two offers for televised debates on Sept. 19 and Oct. 3, the former in the Rio Grande Valley and the latter in Dallas.

    Davis said Tuesday she wants the Rio Grande Valley debate to take place in July, not September, and that she would like the two campaigns to negotiate the dates and schedule debates in San Antonio, El Paso, Houston and Lubbock, in addition to the Rio Grande Valley and Dallas forums.

    According to a news release, Davis hoped "at least two of the events would be in a 90 minute town hall format. She said one debate should be held at a community college and another simulcasted in English and Spanish."

    "My desire is for communities in regions across Texas to here a vigorous exchange of ideas on the critical issues important to Texans around the state," Davis said in a news release Tuesday.

    After their initial letter declining Davis' proposal, Abbott's campaign later released the following statement to the media:

    "For more than six weeks, Sen. Davis has ducked invitations to participate in debates. Now, after Greg Abbott has taken the lead on this issue by accepting two statewide televised debates, the Davis campaign is trying to obscure their unresponsiveness with eleventh hour political theater. The debate about debates is over, and Greg Abbott will continue to outline his vision to create a better future for all Texans. Sen. Davis should spend less time on campaign gimmicks and more time preparing to face tough questions about her support for Obamacare, her involvement in an ongoing FBI investigation and her broken promises to release tax returns and her client list."

    While Davis' plan for more debates wasn't met with support from Abbott's camp, it was well received by Texas Sen. Rodney Ellis (D-Houston).

    "The Houston community looks forward to having Wendy Davis and Greg Abbott in our city to hear more about their plans for Texas. I welcome the opportunity for an open dialogue about the future of our state," Ellis said in a statement Tuesday.

    Texas hasn't seen a general-election debate in the governor's rate in nearly a decade. Gov. Rick Perry in 2010 stuck to his vow not to debate Democrat Bill White unless his opponent released his tax returns.