A Look At Previous Debates And Gearing Up For Abbott Vs. Valdez Debate

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Our team is preparing for the only scheduled debate in the race for Governor, between incumbent Greg Abbott and challenger Lupe Valdez, which you’ll only see live right here on Newscenter 23 at 7 P.M.

Our Wes Rapaport takes us on a look back at past debates in Texas gubernatorial history. 

Rick Perry (2002): “You’re going to make a very important decision of choosing your governor.”

The history of gubernatorial debates in the Lone Star State is rich.

“They’re going to try and draw distinctions between themselves. Your position is this, my position is that.” Says Ross Ramsey, executive editor of the Texas Tribune. 

Ann Richards (1984): “Unless you put a dollar figure for what you propose and then tell the people how you’re going ot pay for it, you are being inexperienced at the cost of the taxpayers of Texas.”

George W. Bush (1994): “I’m proud of my business record. I invite anybody to come see the ballpark in Arlington as an example of entrepreneurship.”

“You can tell from flashes of humor to flashes of anger, what sets a candidate off a little bit. In some ways just get out your popcorn and watch.” Ramsey continued. 

Candidates use these televised debates to promote their agendas on a statewide stage. 

George W. Bush (1994): “I proudly proclaim I have never held office. I have been in the business world all my adult life. I have met a payroll.”

But they can backfire too, like when Clayton Williams responded to a question about his voting record.

Clayton William (1990): I just had to fess up, I forgot that. I was briefed on it, was aware of it, and I overlooked it.”

“It was a very pivotal moment in that election. A large part of the reason a lot of people watch them is for the train wreck.” Said RG Ratcliffe, the political editor for Texas Monthly. 

RG  Ratcliffe has covered Texas Politics for 40 years, and participated in the debate between Governor Rick Perry and Challenger Tony Sanchez in 2002.

Rick perry (2002): “I’ve spent 18 years preparing to be the greatest governor that I could be for this state.” 

Tony Sanchez (2002): “If he has so much experience and has spent so much time in government and knows so much about it, how come we have so many problems in Texas?” 

“Some of the key issues that were around in 2002 are around this year and they will remain around because they’re just the kind of things that the government has to deal with.” Continued Ratcliffe. 

You can watch our livestream of State Of Texas, a special edition debate preview show at 6:30 P.M. tomorrow evening.

During the debate at 7:00 P.M. you can watch our exclusive focus groups results in real time as undecided voters react to the candidates answers. 

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