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The First – and Only – Debate Between Abbott, Valdez for Texas Governor is Tonight


  • Twitter / Lupe Valdez // Flickr / Gage Skidmore
Republican incumbent Greg Abbott and Democratic nominee Lupe Valdez will go head-to-head tonight at their only scheduled debate before the November 6 election in their race for Texas governor.

The debate is set to go down at 7 p.m. in Austin at the Lyndon B. Johnson Library on the University of Texas at Austin campus. Abbott is seeking a second four-year term, and recent polls show that he has a 19 percent lead over Valdez, the former Dallas County Sheriff.

In addition to name recognition, Abbott's campaign funds of more than $30 million could make all the difference in the race for governor. During the most recent filing period, Valdez had raised less than $500,000 and reported just $222,000 to spend.

If you're not to inclined to vote based on just political parties, here's a breakdown of the candidates and their stand on issues important to voters.

Abbott signed legislation that banned sanctuary cities. Valdez, who has a strong connection to immigrants and first-generation Texans, wants to create a pathway to citizenship for undocumented immigrants.

Abbott seeks to expand gun rights for "law-abiding Texans," but will likely try to highlight his response to the mass shootings at Sutherland Springs First Baptist Church and Santa Fe High School. (He said guns should be kept away from people who would "murder our children.") Valdez would push for background checks and closing loopholes that allow questionable individuals to own guns.

The Republican is pro-life and against "partial-birth abortions" and would encourage adoptions of unwanted pregnancies. He also said he supports improved health care for Texans with disabilities as well as loan forgiveness programs for mental health professionals into rural areas. Valdez would push for expanded health care, especially for those living in rural communities, and women's access to abortion procedures.

Despite Valdez's status as the first Latina and lesbian to run for governor, she remains relatively unknown outside of Dallas. Tonight's debate is her chance to carve out her identity for voters.

Austin's KXAN is providing a livestream of the debate on its website. The stream will include a moderated panel of news anchors and journalists from across the Lone Star State, including KSAT's Steve Spriester. KSAT will also steam the debate on

And while you're in the political spirit, be sure to register to vote by the Oct. 9 deadline. Early voting begins Oct. 22.

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