EDINBURG, Texas (ValleyCentral) — It’s not every day the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley campus is the sight of the only gubernatorial debate in Texas.
Although there will not be a live audience, UTRGV students told ValleyCentral they are excited to see a high-profile race come to their campus.
“We’ve seen all the commercials, it’s been crazy. You see the signs everywhere,” said Janeth Alba.
The race between Gov. Greg Abbott and Beto O’Rourke has been closely followed by many Texans.
This week’s Emerson College/ Nexstar Media poll has Governor Abbott leading by 8 percentage points. A recent UT Austin and Texas Politics poll shows Abbott leading by 5% of intended voters. Poll results show this race of the closest in decades.
For students at UTRGV, they are hoping by having this debate on their campus it can put the Rio Grande Valley in a positive light.
“I think it is awesome really because I feel the valley is always underrepresented in the media,” said Gabriel Serna. “Because I have family out of state and there are always like, why is it when the valley is in the news it’s flooding or there are bad things happening in McAllen.”
According to the UT Austin poll, some of the biggest issues for voters are gun control and border security. But students are hoping other issues will be debated.
“I know recently abortion has been pushed a lot, especially with Governor Abbott’s new policies and laws he signed in, and another big thing is also education,” Serna said.
“I’d say more like infrastructure, with the freeze it showed all the different issues that we had and things that have not really been taken care of,” said Cristian Navarro. ” As an engineering student, it is kind of to look at and to say hey why are we not doing something about this.”
While there will be no live audience, students will be using this debate as a learning experience.
“I’m pretty excited about it. I haven’t really been keeping up, but I would like to know more,” said Rheanna Medina. “I feel like it is good that we are all going to be more informed about political topics that I wouldn’t usually be following.”
But whoever wins on election day, students hope there will be more unity throughout the state.
“I just really hope that as a state we can come together and see past red and blue, we are Texans first,” Serna said.