Presidential hopeful Rep. Eric SwalwellEric Michael SwalwellThe Hill’s 12:30 Report: Alabama abortion bill revives national debate Harris to promise ban on imports of some high-powered guns if elected The Memo: 2020 Dems line up for Maddow primary MORE (D-Calif.) said he would “absolutely” do a Fox News town hall but claims the network turned him down.

“I would absolutely do a Fox town hall,” Swalwell told CNN Wednesday, “but they told us we can’t have one which is a little bit confusing to us because they have given them to people who are polling at the same place as us.”

Swalwell said he was “frustrated” that Fox News was “bemoaning that the Democrats won’t do the debates” on the network while rejecting his offer for a town hall.

“I can only conclude that they are afraid to give me the opportunity,” he said. He added that Fox News has not publicly shared the criteria it would use to determine which candidates get to appear in town halls.

Fox News pointed The Hill to the statement it gave CNN. In that statement, a spokesperson disputed Swalwell’s characterization and said the network has left the door open to have Swalwell appear in the future.

Bill Sammon, Fox’s senior vice president of news also discussed the network’s approach with The Washington Post this week.  

“Our attitude has been, ‘Let’s do some town halls but be selective about it,’ ” Sammon said. “There are two dozen candidates. We’re not going to get to all of them. That’s just reality. So let’s carefully select the promising candidates and space them out a bit.

“We’re not going to put them on every night or five in one night. We’ll do it every couple or three weeks and have an impact,” he added.

However, Swallwell’s campaign in a statement to The Hill, pushed back on Fox News’s response.

“After about three weeks of unsuccessfully trying to make contact with FOX News officials about a town hall, Swalwell for America was informed that no town hall would be scheduled with Rep. Swalwell before the first DNC debate in Miami, and that FOX News hasn’t committed to doing any more town halls after that debate,” the campaign said in a statement to The Hill.

“FOX News offered no criteria for how it selected candidates with whom to hold town halls. Rep. Swalwell appeared on FOX News 38 times in 2018 and 11 times so far in 2019, and continues to get almost-daily offers to appear on FOX News’ regularly scheduled programming.” 

The conservative network has been a source of controversy after Democratic National Committee Chairman Tom PerezThomas Edward PerezClinton’s top five vice presidential picks Government social programs: Triumph of hope over evidence Labor’s ‘wasteful spending and mismanagement” at Workers’ Comp MORE said in March that Fox News will not be allowed to host any primary debates. 

But Democratic candidates have been making plans for town halls on the network.

Sen. Bernie SandersBernard (Bernie) SandersSanders the latest to voice support for breaking up Facebook Tlaib becomes first Muslim woman to preside over House Hillicon Valley: Trump signs order to protect US networks from Chinese tech | Huawei downplays order | Trump declines to join effort against online extremism | Facebook restricts livestreaming | FCC proposes new tool against robocalls MORE (I-Vt.) appeared on a Fox News town hall in April, an event that drew over 2.55 million viewers and garnered positive reactions.

Former Obama Housing Secretary Julian CastroJulian CastroMichael Bennet must find a way to stand out in the crowd Sandra Bland’s sister: She’s ‘literally speaking for herself even beyond her grave’ in video Biden takes 32-point lead over Sanders in new 2020 poll MORE and Sen. Cory BookerCory Anthony BookerSanders the latest to voice support for breaking up Facebook Hillicon Valley: Trump signs order to protect US networks from Chinese tech | Huawei downplays order | Trump declines to join effort against online extremism | Facebook restricts livestreaming | FCC proposes new tool against robocalls Booker: Alabama abortion bill part of a ‘coordinated attack’ MORE (D-N.J.) are reportedly in talks with the network to hold town halls, and Sen. Kirsten GillibrandKirsten Elizabeth GillibrandHillicon Valley: Trump signs order to protect US networks from Chinese tech | Huawei downplays order | Trump declines to join effort against online extremism | Facebook restricts livestreaming | FCC proposes new tool against robocalls Overnight Health Care — Presented by Campaign for Accountability — Alabama bill heats up fight over abortion | 2020 Dems blast bill | ACLU challenges Ohio abortion law | NC sues e-cig maker Juul | Flurry of activity on surprise medical bills Kamala Harris won’t participate in Fox News town hall: report MORE (D-N.Y.) said this week should would not rule one out.

Besides the town halls, Gov. Jay InsleeJay Robert InsleeBiden adds 5 points to lead over 2020 Dem field: poll Let’s hope Democratic candidates resist following Trump’s example The Hill’s Morning Report – Presented by Pass USMCA Coalition – Major fallout from China trade talks collapse MORE (D-Wash.), Swalwell, and Rep. Tulsi GabbardTulsi GabbardSanders the latest to voice support for breaking up Facebook House Dems launch Servicewomen and Women Veterans caucus Coalition of women’s groups call out ‘sexist’ coverage of 2020 race MORE (D-Hawaii) have all recently been interviewed on the network.

South Bend, Ind. Mayor Pete ButtigiegPeter (Pete) Paul ButtigiegKamala Harris won’t participate in Fox News town hall: report Political editor says DC, NY media have ‘inflated’ coverage of Buttigieg Poll: Biden leads Trump by double digits in Pennsylvania MORE will appear on the network Sunday night and Sen. Amy KlobucharAmy Jean KlobucharKamala Harris won’t participate in Fox News town hall: report 2020 Dems condemn Alabama abortion bill: ‘This is a war on women’ Brzezinski urges Warren to do Fox News town hall: Candidates should be able to ‘walk into any fire’ MORE (D-Minn.) will appear on “Fox News Sunday.”

However, some Democrats are still keeping their distance from Fox News. Sen. Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth Ann WarrenSanders the latest to voice support for breaking up Facebook Hillicon Valley: Trump signs order to protect US networks from Chinese tech | Huawei downplays order | Trump declines to join effort against online extremism | Facebook restricts livestreaming | FCC proposes new tool against robocalls On The Money: Mnuchin signals officials won’t release Trump tax returns | Trump to hold off on auto tariffs | WH nears deal with Mexico, Canada on metal tariffs | GOP fears trade war fallout for farmers | Warren, regulator spar over Wells Fargo MORE (D-Mass.) torched the network, saying she wouldn’t do a town hall because it “adds money to the hate-for-profit machine.”

“Hate-for-profit works only if there’s profit, so Fox News balances a mix of bigotry, racism, and outright lies with enough legit journalism to make the claim to advertisers that it’s a reputable news outlet,” she said in an email to supporters.

Sen. Kamala HarrisKamala Devi HarrisSanders the latest to voice support for breaking up Facebook Harris says she would ban AR-15 imports by executive action Hillicon Valley: Trump signs order to protect US networks from Chinese tech | Huawei downplays order | Trump declines to join effort against online extremism | Facebook restricts livestreaming | FCC proposes new tool against robocalls MORE (D-Calif.) also reportedly has no plans to appear on a Fox News town hall.

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