Pres­sure builds for Valdez to agree to de­bate

Key Democrats add to call for gu­ber­na­to­rial can­di­dates’ ex­change.

Austin American-Statesman - - FRONT PAGE - By Jonathan Tilove jtilove@states­man.com

Pres­sure was mount­ing over the week­end for Demo­cratic gu­ber­na­to­rial can­di­date Lupe Valdez to agree to de­bate her runoff ri­val, An­drew White.

The two can­di­dates have ap­peared to­gether mul­ti­ple times at cam­paign events in re­cent weeks, but they haven’t in­ter­acted. White, son of the late Demo­cratic Gov. Mark White, has never held of­fice and fin­ished a dis­tant se­cond to Valdez in the March pri­mary, so he has more to gain from a de­bate.

Demo­cratic U.S. Se­nate can­di­date Beto O’Rourke and Justin Nel­son, the party’s nom­i­nee for at­tor­ney gen­eral, said this week­end that Valdez, the for­mer Dal­las County sher­iff, should de­bate White.

“I re­ally don’t know enough about the two can­di­dates, and the best way that I know is to have them each an­swer the same ques­tions and be on the same stage and be able to un­der­stand what the dif­fer­ence is,” O’Rourke said af­ter a Sun­day morn­ing town hall-style event be­fore an over­flow crowd at South­west­ern Univer­sity in Ge­orge­town. He had pre­vi­ously en­dorsed the idea of a Valdez-White de­bate.

A h igh-prof i le ex­change be­tween the two ri­vals rep­re­sents White’s best chance to break through with vot­ers. Valdez came in first with 43 per­cent

Gu­ber­na­to­rial can­di­date An­drew White says he’d pre­fer mul­ti­ple debates with runoff ri­val Lupe Valdez.

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