WASHINGTON (UPI) — Republican presidential candidate Sen. Ted Cruz is calling on his opponent, Donald Trump, to debate him ahead of Tuesday’s five Mid-Atlantic primaries.
Cruz made similar challenges prior to primaries in Wisconsin and New York, which Trump ignored. Republicans have held 12 debates since last summer, though it’s been more than a month — the longest stretch of the campaign so far — since the GOP field formally gathered in one place.
The party has not held a debate since the field winnowed to three candidates following the Florida primary, after which Sen. Marco Rubio exited the race, leaving just Trump, Cruz and Ohio Gov. John Kasich.
“Donald is so scared, he doesn’t think the people of Pennsylvania deserve a debate,” Cruz said Wednesday. “If he actually understood the problems facing this country he should welcome a debate here in Pennsylvania before next Tuesday.”
Pennsylvania is the largest of five states scheduled to vote on Tuesday.
Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus said the party would consider adding additional debates to the campaign schedule before voting concludes in early June. Priebus said the issue would be discussed during the RNC’s meeting scheduled for next week in Florida.
Priebus noted the number and pace of debates through much of January and February took its toll on the campaign and the candidates.
“We had a lull, obviously, since the last debate,” Priebus said during a radio interview. “We were going at about one a week … and it was getting a little exhausting.”
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