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Texas frontrunner for governor, Abbott, backs out of sole TV debate

AUSTIN Texas (Reuters) - The frontrunner for the Texas race for governor, Republican Greg Abbott, has pulled out of the sole statewide televised debate, the debate's broadcaster, WFAA-TV, said on Friday.

"Due to our inability to agree on specific details of the format, Attorney General Greg Abbott will regretfully not be participating in the WFAA debate," Robert Black, a senior campaign adviser, was quoted as saying by WFAA on Friday.

The move comes as Abbott, the current attorney general, has seen once double-digit lead over his Democratic challenger, state Senator Wendy Davis, turn to single digits in polls among potential voters in the November election.

Republicans have won every statewide election in Texas since 1994, helping turn the state with a $1.4 trillion annual economy into an incubator for conservative policies that are often copied by other states.

But demographics have been shifting. Hispanics, who tend to vote for Democrats, are poised to be the majority group in the state by 2030 under current trends.

(Reporting by Jon Herskovitz; Editing by Sandra Maler)

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