Debates to be held in pivotal Texas and Pennsylvania races

Politics

(NewsNation) — Candidates in two of the nation’s most tightly contested midterm races have agreed to debate in races that could drastically swing the political landscapes of Texas and Pennsylvania.

Texas Republican Gov. Greg Abbott will debate Democratic challenger Beto O’Rourke Sept. 30 in the Rio Grande Valley. The debate will be featured live on NewsNation.

NewsNation viewers can submit a question for the Texas candidates that may be asked on ai, by clicking here.

O’Rourke trails Abbott by 5 points according to a poll by the Texas Politics Project, and will likely see the debate as an opportunity to reach moderate voters, and possibly swing some Republicans to his side, something he’s said he believes he can do.

U.S. Border Patrol vehicles are pictured near the Paso Del Norte International Bridge at the US-Mexico border in El Paso, Texas, on Sept. 12, 2019.(PAUL RATJE/AFP via Getty Images)

Eight percent of people who responded to the poll said they are still unsure who they are going to vote for in the election, raising the stakes for the debate.

Abbott has made immigration at the U.S. southern border the No. 1 issue of his campaign, as he has frequently made national headlines clashing with politicians from all over the country over problems Texas is seeing at the border.

Border officials have encountered a record number of migrants trying to cross into the United States at the southern border this year, with many of those encounters happening in Texas.

O’Rourke, on the other hand, has centered his campaign messaging around protecting abortion rights in the state of Texas, an issue that has become key for many Democrats in tight midterm races following the Supreme Court’s decision in the spring to overturn Roe v. Wade.

Pennsylvania

In Pennsylvania, a contentious yet extremely pivotal Senate race is unfolding between Democratic Lt. Gov. John Fetterman and celebrity TV doctor Mehmet Oz.

Fetterman leads Oz in two recent polls put out by CBS News and Monmouth University, according to the Philadelphia Inquirer.

The two candidates have spent months in the media exchanging verbal jabs, including a controversial attack by Oz on Fetterman’s health following the lieutenant governor suffering a stroke.

Fetterman originally hesitated to debate Oz. That hesitation by Fetterman led to immediate attacks from his opponent, who again targeted Fetterman’s health.

Mehmet Oz and John Fetterman (Associated Press-Matt Rourke/Gene J. Puskar)

“John Fetterman is either healthy and he’s dodging the debates because he doesn’t want to answer for his radical left positions, or he’s too sick to participate in the debate,” Oz said.

The candidates could not agree on the terms of the debate either, feuding for weeks over whether to actually hold one. They finally agreed last week to debate in October.

The debate between Oz and Fetterman will also be shown live on NewsNation, Oct. 25 from Harrisburg, Pennsylvania.

Closed captioning will be used in the debate to accommodate the hearing struggles Fetterman has dealt with since the stroke.

Other details about the debate are still being negotiated between the two parties, including three things Oz says Fetterman must agree to before he takes the stage.

Oz wants to debate to be 90 minutes instead of 60, a request NewsNation can accommodate.

How to handle the pre-debate walk-through is also a point of contention. Oz claims Fetterman wants two practice questions and insists that Nexstar should not ask any practice questions that will actually be in the debate.

“We are totally fine with Fetterman practicing with the closed-caption system, but not with Fetterman practicing his answers ahead of time in conjunction with the moderators,” the Oz team said.

Fetterman’s team said Oz is mischaracterizing their plans for a pre-debate walk-through, saying they were not sure why the Oz team is “inferring that the professional people at Nexstar are a part of some grand conspiracy to give questions earlier.”

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