The one and only debate between Gov. Greg Abbott and his long shot Democratic challenger Lupe Valdez takes place tonight, on a Texas football Friday night, at the LBJ Library in Austin, News Radio 1200 WOAI reports.
Its a chance for Valdez to right her sinking campaign. The latest poll shows her running 19 points behind Abbott, who is consistently rated as the most popular statewide office holder in Texas.
When it comes to cash on hand to run the campaign, Valdez' situation is even more dire. Abbott has an estimated $30 million in the bank, while the Valdez campaign has $222,000.
"Its not clear that she can overcome the tremendous polling gap that she has," Kimi King, a political science professor at the University of North Texas, told News Radio 1200 WOAI.
"It is unlikely that she will be able to raise money on a level to compete with Abbott, and that's why this debate is important, because it will be free publicity for her."
And King says Valdez is a master debater, while Valdez has been seen to exhibit a lack of knowledge of the operations of state government, and the functions of the governor.
"The concern is that Abbott is a skilled politicians, who does these kind of back and forth discussions all the time," she said. "It is not clear that Valdez will have the debate skills to make a mark to make her memorable and to give her the bump that she desperately needs at this point."
How dire is Valdez' situation? The Dallas County Deputy Sheriffs Association, representing the men and women who worked for Valdez during her five years as Dallas County Sheriff, has endorsed Abbott.