The only debate scheduled between Republican U.S. Sen. John Cornyn and his Democratic opponent, David Alameel, could end up only being broadcast in Spanish.
Cornyn and Alameel are scheduled to participate in a one-hour debate in Dallas hosted by Univision on Oct. 24. The debate will be conducted in English. Univision will broadcast the debate the next day with the candidates’ remarks dubbed in Spanish at 10 p.m. in eight markets around the state, according to Felicitas Cadena, community affairs manager for Univision Communications.
‘The debate will not air in English in any market,” Cadena said in an email.
Debates that are broadcast in Spanish are not unusual for Texas and other states with large Hispanic populations. But for a statewide race to have its only debate broadcast in Spanish is unusual. About two-thirds of Texans do not speak Spanish.
Cadena said the channel is open to talking with other media outlets about broadcasting the debate in English on television or online.
“We’re just looking at technical possibilities,” Cadena said. “We’d be more than glad to have that discussion.”
Alameel’s campaign has requested more debates with Cornyn, televised or otherwise. Alameel spokesman Gustavo Bujanda said Univision was the only media outlet to offer a televised debate.
“We knew it was not the optimal type of opportunity, not the greatest reach but of course we accepted it because we would accept any opportunity to debate John Cornyn,” Bujanda said.
Bujanda added that the campaign was working with Univision to see about possibly broadcasting a second audio track of the debate in English that viewers would be able to access by changing the settings on their TV.
Cornyn campaign manager Brendan Steinhauser did not immediately respond to a request for comment Thursday but said earlier this week that Cornyn was confident voters were being properly educated about the race.
“Senator Cornyn has been working tirelessly to get his message out and listen to voters across the state of Texas,” Steinhauser said. “He’s participated in countless grassroots events, community activities, press conferences, media interviews, social media gatherings and other communications with Texans."