ALBUQUERQUE (KRQE) – Spanish will be at the center of the New Mexico governor race Monday night as Republican Gov. Susana Martinez and her challenger Democrat Gary King will both take part in a Spanish-language debate.
This will be the second time Gov. Martinez and King have squared off in a debate.
In this debate, on the Spanish-language channel Univision, Gov. Martinez, who is fluent in Spanish, will give her answers in that language.
Meanwhile, Attorney General King will use a translator as he doesn’t speak Spanish.
This is the only slated Spanish-language debate for the candidates this year. Around 40 percent of the state’s voting population is Latino, and there’s been controversy surrounding race and candidates.
King came under fire in September for saying Martinez didn’t have a “Latino Heart.”
Meanwhile, Martinez was criticized for a recent uncovered e-mail where one of her colleagues said the governor did not want a “Mexican affair” at her inauguration.
University of New Mexico political science professor Gabe Sanchez says the debate could be a game-changer for Latino voters.
“It is a pretty big chunk and obviously it’s geared at trying to galvanize the Latino vote,” said Sanchez. “How will it impact whether or not people think of, you know, Susana Martinez being more Latino and Gary King, hey, it’s clear and obvious he’s not, and maybe he’s not in touch with Latino issues.”
The Spanish-language debate is believed to be a first for New Mexico. It starts at 5 p.m.
This story published on Oct. 6 incorrectly reported the debate begins at 5:30 p.m. instead of 5 p.m.