Abbott and O'Rourke's discussion tonight might be the only one, and it comes at a critical time.
Texas Governor Greg Abbott and his Democratic opponent, Beto O'Rourke, squared off in the first and only debate of the election for Texas governor on Friday night. The campaign has been marked by constant assaults and what appears to be mutual animosity between the candidates.
The discussion is being hosted in Edinburg, a border city far from the state's major population centers but right in the middle of South Texas, which is largely Hispanic and where Mr. Abbott and other Republicans have been making gains.
The location also draws attention to one of Mr. Abbott's most successful issues: the record numbers of unlawful immigrants who continue to come at the southern border.
The two campaigns, notably Mr. O'Rourke's, are at a critical juncture as early voting in Texas gets underway in a few short weeks. After the shooting at an elementary school in Uvalde, Texas, and the Supreme Court's decision to overturn Roe v. Wade, certain surveys conducted throughout the summer indicated that the race was becoming more competitive. More recent polls, though, indicate that Mr. Abbott is more decisively in the lead, with a margin of roughly seven percentage points.
Both men are seated during the discussion; Mr. Abbott has used a wheelchair ever since he was 26 years old and became paralyzed below the waist when an oak tree crashed on him while he was running. In the enormous performance hall, there is nobody in the audience—not even partners.
The Abbott team presented the parameters and then would not agree to any revisions, said to Mr. O'Rourke's spokesperson Chris Evans: "They rejected to have voters in the audience." Mr. O'Rourke is "in no position to manage the state if he can't even grasp fundamental debate rules," according to Abbott spokesman Mark Miner.