Gubernatorial Candidates Debate Airs on KLTV

In their first debate Gubernatorial candidates Rick Perry and Tony Sanchez zeroed in on each other's records Wednesday and differed over methods of solving the state's insurance problems, a looming state budget deficit and school funding.

Perry attacked Sanchez for his failed savings and loan in his hometown of Laredo, his lack of experience in government and for not voting.

Perry defended his 17-year government tenure, including the last two years as governor.

The candidates have spent $72 million so far on the governor's race, much of it on their television campaigns.

Sanchez put the blame on Perry for rising insurance rates and company withdrawals from the Texas market that have left hundreds of thousands of people looking for new policies. Perry fired back that as governor, he has called on lawmakers to look into the practices of insurance companies. He referred to a lawsuit against Farmers Insurance Group, following their announcement it was leaving the Texas market.

The debate was broadcast locally on KLTV.

Throughout the debate, Perry related his experience as a former lawmaker, state agriculture commissioner and lieutenant governor. At one point Perry asked Sanchez why he did not vote in the last gubernatorial election in an effort to show Sanchez's poor voting record.

Both candidates supported the death penalty and said they would not back a moratorium on the nationally contested issue.

The Governor did not speak with reporters afterward.

The two candidates will debate once again in Dallas Oct. 24.