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TYLER, TEXAS, November 16, 2011 – Grassroots America, one of the largest conservative activist organizations in Texas, today joins King Street Patriots of Houston and a coalition of TEA party organizations from the Dallas-Fort Worth area to offer to host David Dewhurst and Ted Cruz as participants in a Lincoln-Douglas style debate. Cruz proposed a series of such debates in a public letter to Dewhurst released on Monday, October 31.


JoAnn Fleming, executive director of Grassroots America and chair of the Advisory Committee to the TEA Party Caucus of the Texas Legislature, is hopeful Lt. Governor Dewhurst will finally agree to a debate. Fleming: “The people of Texas cannot afford to make a mistake on the next Senator we send to Washington DC. Voters deserve a robust debate of the most serious issues facing our nation – the debt ceiling crisis, federal spending, tax reform, making Social Security and Medicare stable and sustainable, health care, jobs, and immigration. We need to hear these candidates get beyond rhetoric, talking points, and sound bites.”

In news reports, Dewhurst spokesman Enrique Marquez responded to Cruz’s proposed debates by stating, “David looks forward to debating all Republican Senate candidates.”

In response, Fleming says Grassroots America will work with the candidates’ schedules and even coordinate a full-scale debate with all the candidates if Dewhurst will agree to a debate. Fleming adds, “All of the other candidates are eager to debate and willing to make themselves accessible to the people. It’s time for Lt. Governor Dewhurst to do the same. He needs to show he’s ready to answer tough questions if he wants to be considered for a promotion.” 


 Tyler Morning Telegraph

 Sunday, November 20, 2011

Dewhurst Ducking Debates, Forums

Staff Writer

U.S. Senate candidates and Tea Party/conservative activists say the race’s early leader, Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst, is ducking debate, but analysts say it’s a political calculation to avoid sharing the spotlight.

The once nine-person Republican field vying to fill the seat of retiring Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison, includes top-tier candidates Dewhurst, former Texas solicitor general Ted Cruz and former Dallas Mayor Tom Leppert.

Dewhurst is considered the frontrunner because of his statewide profile and deep pockets. But his campaign thus far has mirrored past campaigns by Gov. Rick Perry, who did not engage in debates, much to the irritation of Tea Party groups and conservative activists.

So far, Dewhurst has missed more than a dozen debates and candidate forums across the state, and Tea Party groups want him on the stage to face questions and opponents. Cruz and Leppert have participated in several events across the state, including an October forum in Tyler, as the candidate field dwindled.

His latest snub was a Nov. 16 forum in Houston hosted by Houston and Dallas/Fort Worth based Tea Party groups.

Cruz’s recent challenge of Dewhurst to do a series of Lincoln-Douglas mano-a-mano-style debates has gone unanswered, leaving conservatives clamoring and calling “chicken.” Dewhurst spokesman Matt Hirsch said any concern that the lieutenant governor will not attend debates is premature. He said Perry’s run for president has placed a greater burden on Dewhurst’s schedule and that he has committed to a January debate hosted by conservative political action committee Empower Texans.

Grassroots America — We the People Executive Director JoAnn Fleming said it is critical for Texans to know who they are sending to Washington D.C. The Senate race is second only to the presidency in 2012, she said.

Candidates should face tough questions, she said, and offer substantive answers and solutions regarding policy, such as national spending, debt, immigration and stabilizing entitlement programs including Medicaid.

Political observers know the importance of the Senate race that has garnered little attention outside of observers and activists, Mrs. Fleming said. Mrs. Fleming said activist groups understand it is relatively early and are willing to wait until January for Dewhurst to attend debates.

But, motivated primary voters are not going to react well to silence, she said. One debate will not be enough.

“Dewhurst needs to put himself out there,” she said. “If he thinks he is going to get a promotion without answering questions about his state record on immigration, gimmicks to balance the budget, education and entitlements and what his ideas are for solutions to those same issues in Washington, he is sorely mistaken.”

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JoAnn Fleming, Chair – Advisory Committee to the TEA Party Caucus of the TX Legislature

Executive Director (volunteer), Grassroots America – We the People
(903) 894-7204 home office or (903) 360-2858 cell

 Where applicable, a political advertisement paid for by the GAWTP PAC, PO Box 130012,Tyler, TX 75713, Jimmie Taylor, PAC Treasurer.