EL PASO, Texas (KTSM) – For the first and likely the last time, Gov. Greg Abbott and democratic candidate Beto O’Rourke will have a face-to-face debate during the campaign ahead of Election Day, Nov. 8.

The Director for the Sam Donaldson Center for Communication Studies Dr. Richard Pineda speaking with KTSM 9 News ahead of the debate.

Pineda saying it is unlikely this debate will change voters minds on which candidate they will cast their vote for in November.


“If this was just a debate about immigration and that’s where both candidates were willing to spend the whole time then you might see some things in the end that people say ‘oh ok’ I’m going to change my mind about this or I’m going to change my perspective that’s not the case, I think your going to get a whole rang of issues and not a lot of attention on any one particular issue,” said Pineda.

There will be no audience at tonight’s debate that is scheduled for 6 p.m. local time at The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley.

According to Nexstar, both candidates agreed to there being no audience at the debate. However, Pineda says not having an audience bodes well for Abbott.

“O’Rourke does very well when he’s got a crowd even if the crowd is against him he does very well at sort of pulling that energy. I think that not having an audience really plays to the governors benefit I think that your going to see that as the debate unfolds. There’s not going to be distractions there’s not going to be a shift in what people are talking about and all of those things play well for the incumbent,” said Pineda.

Pineda adding that it will be interesting for viewers to listen to how Abbott generalizes the experience of Texas as he believes Abbott is gearing up for a presidential run.

“To say as goes Texas so goes the nation I do think a lot of their efforts over this last part of the campaign have been less about beating Congressman O’Rourke where I think he’s well ahead and more about positioning for what I think is going to be a national run,” said Pineda.

Pineda predicting that O’Rourke will have the support of El Paso when it comes to November 8.

“This is a prediction I feel comfortable making O’Rourke will win El Paso County when it comes to the gubernatorial race and it’s not a Bellwether County it’s not crucial to determine what the other outcomes are but I think because he is the hometown politician that is going to carry weight by itself,” said Pineda.

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