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WATCH: Gov. Greg Abbott, Lupe Valdez Face Off In First And Only Debate

Left: Texas Gov. Greg Abbott speaks at an event where he announced his bid for re-election on July 14, 2017, in San Antonio. | Right: Texas gubernatorial candidate Lupe Valdez speaks at the Texas Democratic Convention on June 22, 2018, in Fort Worth.

Gov. Greg Abbott and Democratic rival Lupe Valdez face off in tonight's live, one-and-done gubernatorial debate.

The one-hour debate kicks off at 7 p.m. at the Lyndon B. Johnson Presidential Library in Austin. 

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The moderators

Robert Hadlock of KXAN-TV in Austin will moderate the debate and will be joined by a panel of local reporters from across Texas, including:

Julie Fine of KXAS-TV in Dallas-Fort Worth
Andy Cerota of KPRC-TV in Houston
Steve Spriester of KSAT-TV in San Antonio
Norma Garcia of Telemundo in Dallas-Fort Worth

Join the conversation on Twitter by using the hashtag #TXDecides.

About the race

Texas Tribune reporter Patrick Svitek points out that the debate will provide the widest audience yet for Valdez, "whose underdog challenge to Abbott has unfolded in the shadow of the blockbuster U.S. Senate race" that features Republican Sen. Ted Cruz and U.S. Rep. Beto O'Rourke, a Democrat.

As the Associated Press reports, from the start, Abbott has been in a stronger position than Valdez. His campaign has a bigger financial edge, and Valdez, the former Dallas County sheriff, has struggled to galvanize Democrats.

Valdez has said that as governor, she’d draw on her experience in law enforcement to bring people together around criminal justice reform and other issues facing Texas.

Facts to know before the debate

• Abbott and Valdez will get 60 seconds to answer questions and 30 seconds for each rebuttal. View more debate rules here.
• Valdez would become Texas' first Hispanic and openly gay governor if elected.
• Republicans haven't lost a statewide election in Texas in more than 20 years.