Speed Reads

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Ted Cruz's Senate challenger wants to debate him in Spanish

Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) has been unexpectedly dogged by his Democratic punk rock-playing challenger, Rep. Beto O'Rourke (Texas), and the latest test will be a series of debates ahead of the November election. O'Rourke, though, has a potential trick up his sleeve: He has challenged Cruz to six debates, including two in Spanish, The Texas Tribune reports.

Cruz is the son of a Cuban immigrant, but he was born in Canada. As the Tribune puts it, "Cruz is not known as a proficient speaker" of Spanish. In one memorable moment during the Republican presidential primary, he was even shot down on stage by Sen. Marco Rubio (Fla.).

O'Rourke, on the other hand, is a fluent Spanish speaker. Almost 30 percent of Texans speak Spanish at home, according to the 2015 U.S. Census Bureau's American Community Survey. O'Rourke's campaign manager, Jody Casey, said in a letter to Cruz's staff that O'Rourke's team would like the debates to have "media reach to all 20 markets in the state."

Cruz is known to be a skilled, if humorless, debater, and a spokeswoman told The Texas Tribune: "We are considering all possibilities in front of us and will be working with potential hosts and the O'Rourke campaign to determine the best platforms available so that Texans from all corners of the state can hear from the candidates directly about their views for Texas' future." O'Rourke, for his part, has not appeared terribly worried: "I'm very much looking forward to it," he said.