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El Paso holds watch parties throughout the city for the Texas governor race

EL PASO, Texas -- The first and possibly only in-person debate for the Texas governor race was held Friday night, and watch parties were held throughout the city.

Republican Governor Greg Abbott and Democrat opponent Beto O’Rourke went head -to-head discussing immigration, gun control, and abortion. Both watch parties were packed with supporters, many of who believe their candidate won the debate.

"I think Mr. Abbott won the debate. There's no question," said Berta Hall Republican watch party attendee.

"Beto won. This was a game-changing moment in this campaign," said Micheal Apodaca, El Paso county Democratic chair.

"So many came and showed up there's a lot of interest in this race," said Lupe De La O, El Paso county Republican vice chair.

Republican and Democratic parties felt the momentum in each room.

"I think it's great that so many people came and I hope to come back on election night," Hall said.

"We had a great crowd it was pretty full it was very enthusiastic," Apodaca said.

One of the most pressing issues covered in the debate was abortion following the Supreme Court decision to overturn Roe v. Wade, and gun law in the aftermath of the deadly shooting at Robb Elementary in Uvalde.

"Abortion is very personal to me and I like the fact that Texas has a very strict abortion law and I hope that stays in place," Hall said.

"He talked about calling a special session for gun rights, gun safety, that both El Paso needs, out of our experience on August 3rd, and also what Uvalde needs," Apodaca said.

Both parties agree that the importance doesn't stop at the watch parties but the education that comes after the debate.

"What I've noticed here is a lot of people don't know why they vote. They just think they have to vote a certain way because years ago someone told them to vote that way and they don't know the issues," De La O said.

"What's important is we have to remind ourselves that after this watch party we need to go out and tell our friends to tell our families to make sure that they go vote."

The election is 40 days away. Early voting begins October 24.

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