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Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick Won't Debate His Challenger. But He Will Debate Geraldo Rivera On Immigration

Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick has challenged Gerald Rivera to a debate over immigration.
Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon (left) / Gabriel C. Pérez
Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick has challenged Gerald Rivera to a debate over immigration.

Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick on Thursday challenged Fox News contributor Geraldo Rivera to a debate over immigration.

During an appearance on Fox News this morning, Patrick accused CNN, MSNBC, most of the print media and the Democrats of being accomplices in the murder of Mollie Tibbetts. Authorities have said the University of Iowa student was killed by an undocumented immigrant. His legal status is in dispute.

In blaming the media, Patrick specifically pointed a finger at Rivera.

“I’ve never met the guy. I seem to like him, seems like he’s got a good heart,” Patrick said. “You know, I saw him here on Fox [say], ‘Well, I feel badly about this but ...’ There is no but!”

He then challenged Rivera to a debate on immigration.

After his TV appearance, the lieutenant governor took to Twitter to provide specifics of his debate challenge, which included a date (September) and place (Fox News host Sean Hannity’s show).

Just 15 minutes later, Rivera responded.

The quick arrangement is a reminder that Patrick has so far declined to debate his Democratic opponent, , in the race for lieutenant governor. Collier says he wishes Patrick would debate him instead.

“Well, I think that’s almost comical, isn’t it?” Collier said in an interview with KUT. “I mean Geraldo is not running against him. If I’m not mistaken, Geraldo Rivera is a New Yorker, and if I’m not mistaken, Geraldo Rivera is a TV personality. So that debate is a farce.”

Collier said he has already accepted an invitation to a debate offered by the Fox affiliate in Houston. Patrick has not.

Incumbent Republican Gov. Greg Abbott and his Democratic challenger, Lupe Valdez, have also been unable to agree on a debate in the fall.

U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz and his Democratic challenger, Beto O’Rourke, are still negotiating debate possibilities.

Copyright 2020 KUT 90.5. To see more, visit .

Ben Philpott covers politics and policy for KUT 90.5 FM. He has been covering state politics and dozens of other topics for the station since 2002. He's been recognized for outstanding radio journalism by the Radio and Television News Directors Association, Public Radio News Directors Incorporated, the Texas Associated Press Broadcasters and twice by the Houston Press Club as Radio Journalist of the Year. Before moving to Texas, he worked in public radio in Birmingham and Tuscaloosa, Ala., and at several television stations in Alabama and Tennessee. Born in New York City and raised in Chattanooga, Tenn., Philpott graduated from the University of Alabama with a degree in broadcast journalism.
Nathan Bernier a KUT reporter and the local host during All Things Considered and Marketplace. He grew up in the small mountain town of Nelson, BC, Canada, and worked at commercial news radio stations in Ottawa, Montreal and Boston before starting at KUT in 2008.