Gov. Greg Abbott accepts debate invitation in Rio Grande Valley, Beto O’Rourke pushes for more forums

If both candidates agree, Abbott and O’Rourke will square off in Edinburg on Sept. 30

Beto O'Rourke, left, and Texas Gov. Greg Abbott, right. (Associated Press, KSAT)

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott said Tuesday he is accepting an invitation for a debate, hosted and broadcast by Nexstar Media Group in partnership with KSAT.

KSAT anchor Steve Spriester will be part of the panel of journalists involved in the debate, which will be televised and streamed online.

Challenger Beto O’Rourke has not yet announced whether he will participate but released the following statement:

“We look forward to attending a forum hosted by Nexstar Media Group in the Rio Grande Valley at a mutually agreed upon date and time, but one debate in one community for the entire state of Texas is not nearly enough. The people of Texas deserve better. That’s why Beto invites Governor Abbott to participate in three town hall-style debates in every region of the state during weeknights this fall where they can take questions directly from their fellow Texans.”

If they both agree on specifics, the candidates will debate on the campus of the University of Texas-Rio Grande Valley in Edinburg on Friday, September 30 at 7 p.m.

In an email to supporters Tuesday, Abbott’s campaign wrote: “This will be the one and only gubernatorial debate of the 2022 election.”

KSAT will broadcast and livestream the debate, along with Nexstar stations and media outlets across Texas.

There are other candidates on the ballot for Governor – but this debate will focus on Abbott and O’Rourke.

Nexstar Media adopted a set of criteria to determine which candidates are eligible to participate in a debate, including a requirement that a candidate must receive at least 10-percent support in an established, professionally-conducted, non-partisan poll leading up to the election.

A candidate also must have raised at least $50,000 dollars in campaign contributions to be eligible.