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No debate, Leticia Van de Putte takes center stage

GOP candidate for Lt. Governor declines invitation

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SAN ANTONIO – What was planned as a debate between the Republican and Democratic candidates for Lt. Governor, turned into a town hall meeting, with Sen. Leticia Van de Putte taking center stage.

It took place Friday evening at the local Univision affiliate, KWEX-TV, with anchor Antonio Guillen as moderator.

In the live studio audience were some Republican supporters of State Senator Dan Patrick.

Robert Stovall, Bexar County GOP chair, was among those who asked questions in Spanish of Van de Putte, who is bilingual.

"Sometimes candidates that aren't fluent in Spanish maybe are concerned about the way that it's translated, the way that it comes out," Stovall said. "So it's probably a good thing he didn't show up in this case."

Van de Putte said KWEX initially had offered Patrick a debate in English with Spanish translations for their audience, but Patrick declined.

"It's not just this debate. He has said no to pretty much all of them and has canceled appearances. He is not making his schedule public. He won't face the voters," Van de Putte said.

However, both are set to meet face to face in a debate Sept. 29 sponsored by the Texas Tribune.

In a one-line statement, Patrick's campaign spokesman said, "Senator Patrick is looking forward to debating his opponent Sept. 29."

The one-hour Q&A covered a number of hot topics that both Van de Putte and Patrick have been sparring over, such as border security, education and abortion.

Van de Putte also advocated for raising the minimum wage.