Valdez commits to a gubernatorial debate with Abbott — but not the one Abbott has agreed to

Gov. Greg Abbott and Democratic challenger Lupe Valdez.
Gov. Greg Abbott and Democratic challenger Lupe Valdez.
Marjorie Kamys Cotera: Abbott/Laura Buckman: Valdez

The back-and-forth over when and where the two major candidates for Texas governor will debate continued Wednesday, with Democratic nominee Lupe Valdez announcing that she had accepted an invitation to a debate featuring a different host, location and time than the one that incumbent Republican Greg Abbott agreed to a week earlier.

The invitation Valdez accepted was for a debate on the evening of Monday, Oct. 8, at the University of Houston-Downtown. It would be organized by the local ABC and Univision affiliates. A week earlier, Abbott announced he had agreed to a debate hosted by Nexstar Media Group on the evening of Friday, Sept. 28, at a yet-to-be-determined location in Austin.

After Abbott’s announcement, Valdez said she was “in” for a debate but took issue with the timing of Sept. 28 event — a Friday evening in the middle of high school football season. Her campaign said Wednesday that any debate between the two should be at a different time and be broadcast live on television and online, feature a live in-studio audience and include a Spanish-language media partner with a portion of questions in Spanish.

“I’m running to represent all of Texas, and if there is going to be a debate, town hall or other type of forum, we need to ensure a real discussion for all of Texas to hear,” Valdez said in a news release that called on Abbott to “stop hiding from Texans.”

The Sept. 28 debate that Abbott agreed to would air on television and online. It would be carried by the 12 stations Nexstar has in Texas as well as partner stations in Dallas, Houston and San Antonio.

Abbott’s campaign did not immediately commit to the Oct. 8 debate.

“We’ve agreed to the debate on the 28th and we look forward to our opponent accepting that invitation,” Abbott spokesman John Wittman said in a statement.

Disclosure: Univision Communications has been a financial supporter of The Texas Tribune, a nonprofit, nonpartisan news organization that is funded in part by donations from members, foundations and corporate sponsors. Financial supporters play no role in the Tribune’s journalism. Find a complete list of them here.



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