Huffpost Politics

David Dewhurst Challenges Ted Cruz To Debate In Spanish

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Texas Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst speaks before opening the session in the Senate Monday, Feb. 2, 2009, in Austin, Texas.
Texas Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst speaks before opening the session in the Senate Monday, Feb. 2, 2009, in Austin, Texas.

Texas Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst said he'll accept a debate invitation from his opponent Ted Cruz under one condition: that the debate be in Spanish.

The challenge comes after Cruz, the tea party-backed candidate who's locked in a runoff with Dewhurst for the Republican Senate nomination, attacked his rival for supposedly dodging one-on-one debates. It's an area where Cruz might have the advantage, given he was a winner at the 1992 U.S. National Debating Championships. That advantage likely would disappear were the debates to be held in Spanish.

“I would welcome a debate with Dewhurst in any form, but I think we would have a better debate if we did the debate in English,” said Cruz in an interview with Univision.

Cruz, a second generation Cuban-American who grew up speaking “Spanglish,” never mastered the language, according to The Houston Chronicle. Dewhurst learned to speak Spanish while working for the Central Intelligence Agency in Bolivia in the 1970s.

“When I came back from Bolivia, my Spanish was in some ways as good as my English,” he told the Chronicle. “I am rusty today. But I am comfortable talking in Spanish. I am not flawless or fluent, but I am comfortable. It takes me a day or two speaking a lot of Spanish to get back into a rhythm.”

The two men will compete in a runoff on July 31 to determine who will advance to the November general election.

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