IRVING, Texas — Nexstar Media Group, Inc. announced Wednesday it will host the only Texas gubernatorial debate between incumbent Governor Greg Abbott (R) and former Dallas County Sheriff Lupe Valdez (D) on Friday, Sept. 28 at 7 p.m. Central.

Reflecting Nexstar’s organization-wide commitment to excellence in local broadcast journalism and service to its communities, the company is committed to producing the debate in the state capital of Austin at the LBJ Presidential Library at the University of Texas.

The debate will be moderated by Robert Hadlock (@RobertHadlock) of KXAN News in Austin. He will be joined by a panel of leading local news anchors and journalists from across the state who will deliver questions to the candidates, including Emmy Award-winner Julie Fine (@JulieFineNBC5) of KXAS NBC 5 news, Andy Cerota (@KPRC2Andy) of KPRC 2 news, Steve Spriester (@stevespriester) of KSAT 12 news and Norma Garcia (@Normagarciatv) of Telemundo 39.

The questions will be focused on topical local/regional issues impacting communities across Texas and candidate-specific subjects.

Tim Busch, President of Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc., said, “As one of the nation’s largest local media companies, Nexstar remains committed to supporting the needs and interests of the local communities that we proudly serve in Texas and throughout the United States. We have harnessed the combined resources of Nexstar’s local station operations in twelve markets throughout the state to deliver extensive live coverage of the only televised Texas gubernatorial debate both on-air and streaming online. In addition, we are further extending the reach of the Texas Gubernatorial Debate by teaming up with select broadcast partners in Dallas, Houston, San Antonio and Corpus Christie as well as all radio and Spanish-language television stations across the state to ensure that we are addressing the information interests of all local voters. We are grateful to Governor Greg Abbott and Democratic candidate Lupe Valdez for their participation and to the outstanding local communities across the great state of Texas for their continued viewership and support.”

Jerry Walsh, VP, Local Content Development of Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. added, “Over the last two election cycles, Nexstar has continued to invest in our news resources and reporting capabilities, including the expansion of our Washington D.C. and various individual State Capital Bureaus including our bureau in Austin, Texas, in order to deliver more hours of trusted local programming to our viewers. As a result, Nexstar stations have taken the lead in producing over 120 debates since 2016 to bring the local communities we serve across the United States greater access to local lawmakers and candidates. These events provide an important public forum for constituents to engage with local leaders on the issues that matter to their families and community. We look forward to connecting Texas voters with their gubernatorial candidates with our upcoming debate so they have the information they need to make thoughtful decisions on Election Day.”

Nexstar Media Group appreciates the LBJ Library Foundation hosting this event.

The one-hour, statewide debate will air on Nexstar stations KXAN-TV (NBC), KRBC-TV (NBC), KAMR-TV (NBC), KVEO-TV (NBC), KTSM-TV (NBC), KAMC-TV (ABC), KMID-TV (ABC), KSAN-TV (NBC), KTAL-TV (NBC), KETK-TV (NBC), KWKT-TV (FOX) and KFDX-TV (NBC), in addition to select broadcast partners, including KPRC-TV (NBC), KSAT-TV (ABC) KRIS 6.2 (CW) and KXAS-TV (NBC) as well as select Telemundo stations and all radio stations in the state. Local viewers may also access a live-stream of the debate online by visiting their local Nexstar station’s website.

Libertarian candidate Mark Tippetts and supporters have questioned why he is not included in the debate. 

Nexstar has communicated to Tippets the criteria and that he does not meet at least two eligibility requirements. 

The company has assessed that Tippetts does not meet the minimum thresholds for campaign fundraising and polling, per Nexstar’s criteria:

If a candidate meets at least five but not all of the requirements in Section 3 above (and meets the requirements in Section 5 below) and can show either:

a. He or she has received a minimum of 5 percent for a primary election, or 10 percent for a general election, support in an established, professionally conducted nonpartisan poll without taking the survey’s margin of error into account, or

b. The percentage of votes cast for the candidate in a previous election within the four years immediately preceding the current election exceeds a minimum of 20 percent of votes for the same office or a comparable office,

the candidate is eligible to participate in the debate.

5. In addition to the requirements of Sections 1-4 inclusive, a candidate for a state or federal office must have reported, on official forms filed with the appropriate election authority, accepting at least $50,000 in monetary, as opposed to in-kind, campaign contributions, at least 25 percent of which must be raised from in-state constituents. For local offices, a candidate must have reported, on official forms filed with the appropriate election authority, having accepted at least $15,000 in campaign contributions.