POLL: Texas GOP Incumbents Keeping Challengers Out of Spotlight

Many Republican incumbents in Texas continue to deny their challengers a debate heading into November’s election.

Down ballot incumbents Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick and state Attorney General Ken Paxton are among those refusing to give their challengers the time of day.

“A debate opens up potential risk for an incumbent, they could do something wrong, they could say something awkward, they could essentially allow for their opponent to capitalize on mistakes they have made or policy choices they've taken,” says Brandon Rottinghaus, political science professor at the University of Houston.

Because Republicans tend to vote more frequently than Democrats in midterms, Rottinghaus says candidates like Patrick and Paxton can really just take a knee and run out the clock.

“For most Republicans there's a presumption that if you get the turnout of a certain number than you're going to win, just by virtue of the votes that typically come in during a midterm election,” he says.

While Sen. Ted Cruz and Democratic challenger Beto O'Rourke have said they'll debate multiple times, the only scheduled debate this political season is between Gov. Greg Abbott and Lupe Valdez September 28.

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