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Amy Klobuchar, Pete Buttigieg, Bernie Sanders and Kirsten Gillibrand. Photos: Getty Images

Several Democratic 2020 hopefuls are signing on to attend town halls hosted by Fox News, despite the Democratic National Committee barring the network from hosting a presidential debate this election cycle.

Driving the news: Breaking from several vocal Democrats who have denied the invitation to appear on the network, Beto O'Rourke on Monday said he would "absolutely" do a Fox News town hall, per Politico, saying: 'This campaign is about going where the people are ... That also includes Fox."

The big picture: The debate among Democrats over whether or how the party should engage with Fox News is sowing division within the party ahead of 2020. Many Democratic candidates have already appeared on several Fox News shows, hoping to reach some of its more moderate viewers. Sen. Bernie Sanders' April town hall drew an estimated audience of 2.5 million — double the viewership of his CNN town hall appearance.

Democrats who have agreed to town halls:

  • Sen. Bernie Sanders: April 15
  • Sen. Amy Klobuchar: May 8
  • Mayor Pete Buttigieg: May 19
  • Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand: June 2
  • Former HUD Secretary Julián Castro: June 13

Democrats who have expressed willingness to appear:

  • Sen. Cory Booker also said he’s considering one.
  • Beto O'Rourke told AP he would be willing to appear on the network.
  • John Delaney tweeted at Elizabeth Warren after she turned down a town hall: "If you're not using your town hall, I will. Democratic candidates have to campaign everywhere and talk to voters."
  • Eric Swalwell told CNN he "would absolutely do a Fox town hall," but the network turned him down.

Democrats who refuse to appear:

  • Sen. Elizabeth Warren blasted the network as "a hate-for-profit racket that gives a megaphone to racists and conspiracists."
  • Sen. Kamala Harris will not participate in a Fox News moderated town hall, per journalist Yashar Ali. Harris's campaign spokesperson said: "They've reached out but we haven't entertained it.”

Go deeper

Senate retirements could attract GOP troublemakers

Sen. Roy Blunt (R-Mo.). Photo: Jim Lo Scalzo/EPA/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Sen. Roy Blunt's retirement highlights the twin challenge facing Senate Republicans: finding good replacement candidates and avoiding a pathway for potential troublemakers to join their ranks.

Why it matters: While the midterm elections are supposed to be a boon to the party out of power, the recent run of retirements — which may not be over — is upending that assumption for the GOP in 2022.

Congressional diversity growing - slowly

Data: Brookings Institution and Pew Research Center; Note: No data on Native Americans in Congress before the 107th Congress; Chart: Danielle Alberti/Axios

The number of non-white senators and House members in the 535-seat Congress has been growing steadily in the past several decades — but representation largely lags behind the overall U.S. population.

Why it matters: Non-whites find it harder to break into the power system because of structural barriers such as the need to quit a job to campaign full time for office, as Axios reported in its latest Hard Truths Deep Dive.

Staff for retiring Senate Republicans a K Street prize

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

The retirements of high-profile Senate Republicans mean a lot of experienced staffers will soon be seeking new jobs, and Washington lobbying and public affairs firms are eyeing a potential glut of top-notch talent.

Why it matters: Roy Blunt is the fifth Republican dealmaker in the Senate to announce his retirement next year. Staffers left behind who can navigate the upper chamber of Congress will be gold for the city’s influence industry.