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What to Expect in Tonight's First and Only Debate Between Texas Lt. Gov. Candidates

Jennifer Whitney / Bob Daemmrich/Texas Tribune
State Sen. Leticia Van de Putte will take the offensive tonight, callling out State Sen. Dan Patrick for previously supporting cuts to public education funding.

Houston State Sen. Dan Patrick and State Sen. Leticia Van de Putte of San Antonio will meet tonight in what is likely to be their one and only scheduled debate before Election Day.

Democrat Leticia Van de Putte, like all statewide Democratic candidates, has been trailing her Republican opponent Dan Patrick throughout this race.

Tonight will be her big chance to show voters why they should consider her, and possibly land a couple of attacks to weaken Patrick.

Look for her to use Patrick's own words on immigration from his GOP primary campaign against him. And she'll probably focus on his support for billions in public education cuts as well in an effort to court moderate suburban voters who tend to support funding for public schools.

For Patrick, it could be a night of careful statements, just hoping to end the hour without falling flat. But Patrick is a professional broadcaster, and is deft at delivering quick, controlled answers that don't get him in trouble.

We saw him use that skill in an immigration debate against current HUD Secretary Julian Castro this spring. The former San Antonio mayor repeatedly tried to get Patrick to defend remarks, like saying immigrants were bringing leprosy across the border. Still, Patrick succeeded at offering a softer tone to viewers.

The debate will be live at KLRU's studios tonight starting at 7 p.m., and will be moderated by Ross Ramsey, the executive editor of our reporting partner The Texas Tribune.

You can watch a live-stream of the debate on or listen on KUT 90.5 FM.

Ben Philpott is the Managing Editor for KUT. Got a tip? Email him at Follow him on Twitter @BenPhilpottKUT.
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