In response to a call for grassroots organizations to sponsor local debates, the Central Texas Republican Assembly (CTRA) and Austin Rhetoric Club (ARC) invited Ted Cruz and David Dewhurst, the candidates for United States Senate in the July 31st Republican Primary Runoff, to a debate in Central Texas.

In the June 5, 2012 invitation letters to the each of the two campaigns, James Dickey (representing the CTRA) and Tom Umstattd (representing the ARC) wrote, “The Central Texas Republican Assembly (CTRA – and the Austin Rhetoric Club (ARC – invite you to participate in a public debate with your opponent in the runoff for the Republican nomination for the United States Senate. As an organization focused on learning and competing in local, state and national debates, the 6th-12th grade members of the ARC will…contribute a substantial portion of the questions addressed to the candidates.”

Upon receipt of the letter, the Cruz campaign indicated that Ted Cruz would be willing to participate. On June 15th, Leut. Governor Dewhurst’s scheduler told James Dickey , “The [Lieutenant] Governor is not accepting invitations to any debate that does not have guaranteed statewide media coverage. He wants to ensure as many voters as possible are able to see any debate.”

Disclaimer: Neither the CTRA nor any other Republican Assembly has endorsed in Texas’ US Senate race. The Assemblies have as a stated objective “to recruit, educate, train and motivate individuals to run for public office who are irrevocably committed to upholding and fighting for Constitutional principles and the preservation of the Republic.” The assemblies endorse conservative candidates in Republican primary races when there is a bright line distinction between the candidates as evidenced by at least two-thirds of voting members/delegates voting to endorse a candidate at a meeting held for the purpose of making endorsements. At its January 28, 2012 Endorsing Convention, the Texas Republican Assembly (TxRA) held several rounds of voting in an attempt to endorse one of the (then nine ) candidates vying for the Republican nomination in the US Senate race. No candidate received the required two-thirds vote to endorse. The Assembly will not have the opportunity to attempt to endorse in the US Senate race during the runoff. TxRA by-laws restricted local chapters from endorsing in statewide races so the CTRA cannot endorsed in the US Senate runoff.

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