Elections

Texas billionaire offers incentive for Trump to debate Cruz

Live: A trailer with a sign supporting Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump, and satellite trucks, are parked on the campus of Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa,Thursday, Jan. 28, 2016, where Trump is scheduled to hold a campaign event. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)
Live: A trailer with a sign supporting Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump, and satellite trucks, are parked on the campus of Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa,Thursday, Jan. 28, 2016, where Trump is scheduled to hold a campaign event. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong) AP

It seems like an offer that even Donald Trump couldn’t refuse: debate Ted Cruz before the Iowa caucuses and Cruz donors will give $1.5 million to veterans groups.

That at least was the thinking of Toby Neugebauer, a 45-year old Texas billionaire and son of U.S. Rep. Randy Neugebauer, R-Lubbock, who made the offer with New York financier Robert Mercer. Both are Cruz supporters who are behind Super PACs that back the Texas senator.

Neugebauer put up $10 million and said he raised more funding for a total of $38 million for four pro-Cruz Super PACs, which have variations on the name Keep the Promise. Super PACS operates independently but can spend unlimited amounts supporting a candidate.

As of Thursday evening, Neugebauer told the Star-Telegram by phone from Puerto Rico, where he lives, “The only response has been his Twitter banter.”

But Neugebauer, who said Trump could pick his own moderators or have a town hall format with no moderator, isn’t giving up easily. “That’s the debate everybody wants to see: the debate between Trump and Cruz.” And he thinks it’s to Trump’s benefit to participate.

Plus, he added: “Donald Trump saying no today doesn’t mean he’s going to say no tomorrow.”

Maria Recio: 202-383-6103, @maria_e_recio

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