Replay: Greg Abbott, Beto O’Rourke debate in the RGV

Friday night’s event was the only scheduled debate in the Texas governor’s race.

By Julián Aguilar, The Texas NewsroomSeptember 30, 2022 11:12 am,

Texas voters got their first and only chance to watch the candidates for governor go head-to-head Friday night as incumbent Republican Greg Abbott and Democratic challenger Beto O’Rourke debated live from the Rio Grande Valley.  

The debate at the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley was hosted by NEXSTAR media group and was the only debate both camps agreed to, despite O’Rourke’s campaign asking for more face-to-face contests in a matchup that’s garnered the most attention of all the statewide races on the ballot in November.  

Early voting begins Monday, Oct. 24 and runs through Friday, Nov. 4. Election Day is Tuesday, Nov. 8. 

Watch a replay of the debate below:

The gubernatorial debate was hosted by KXAN news anchor Britt Moreno, and the panel of journalists asking questions included Sally Hernandez of KXAN, Gromer Jeffers of The Dallas Morning News and Steve Spriester of KSAT San Antonio, KXAN reported 

O’Rourke, a former city council member and congressman from El Paso, is looking to be the first Democrat elected to a statewide office in Texas since the mid-1990s. Abbott, who was first elected to the position in 2014 and is seeking his third term, was previously the state’s attorney general.  

Recent polling indicates O’Rourke is still the underdog. A Quinnipiac University poll released Wednesday showed that 53% of likely voters plan to cast their ballot for the incumbent, while 46% said they support O’Rourke.  

Abbott has made border security a main theme of his campaign and has painted O’Rourke as a standard bearer of what Republicans call President Joe Biden’s “open-border” policies. O’Rourke’s camp has hit Abbott on gun control, an issue once again thrust into the headlines after a gunman killed 19 children and two teachers at a Uvalde school in May. Access to abortion is another key issue that separates the candidates. 

Both campaigns had events planned around Friday’s debate. O’Rourke met families from Uvalde who have been pressuring Abbott to call a special session of the Texas Legislature to address gun reform, specifically raising the age to purchase an assault-style weapon from 18 to 21. 

Abbott was scheduled to meet with supporters at a watch party in McAllen immediately after the debate. On Saturday, he’ll speak at the Texans for Greg Abbott and Texas Victory Weekend breakfast in Harlingen.

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