KFDX to host Wichita Falls mayoral debate ahead of November election

Local News

WICHITA FALLS (KFDX/KJTL) — With the November election less than two months away, voters in Wichita Falls will get the hear from the three men vying to be the city’s next mayor.

As Your Local Election Headquarters, KFDX will be hosting a debate in October between Stephen Santellana, Kevin Hunter, and James Huling.

Here’s what to know about the debate and how to watch.

When is the debate and how can I watch it?

The debate is Thursday, Oct. 1. It will be broadcast live on KFDX-TV/NBC. Viewers may also access a live stream of the debate by visiting www.texomashomepage.com.

Who are the candidates?

Wichita Falls Mayor Stephen Santellana is seeking his final term after being elected to the position in 2016. Before that, he served as a city councilor for District 1. Santellana is the President of Lone Star Highway Products Inc. and chief operating officer of WS Construction.

Santellana was born and raised in Wichita Falls. He graduated from Holliday High School and Midwestern State University.

Longtime Wichita Falls resident and businessman Kevin Hunter is running for political office for the first time. As a graduate of Midwestern State University, Hunter has been an oil and gas consultant since 1983. 

In 2016, Hunter was one of the landowners fighting the Federal Bureau of Land Management over land across the Red River border. Hunter is also a member of the Vote No Group that has opposed many bond proposals in Wichita County.

Veteran James Huling is also in this race after launching his first political campaign. He served six years in the United States Army. Huling also rose to fame after appearing on two seasons of the popular reality tv show Big Brother. Huling is a detention officer for the Wichita County Sheriff’s Office.

Who will be moderating?

The debate will be moderated by Darrell Franklin, the evening anchor at KFDX/Texoma’s Fox in Wichita Falls, and Dr. Steve Garrison, the Redwine Honors Program director at MSU Texas. Garrison is also an associate professor of political science at the university.

Franklin has worked at KFDX since 1992, serving as a reporter for many years before becoming an anchor. Franklin earned his Bachelor of Arts degree in mass communication at Midwestern State University in Wichita Falls and grew up in Iowa Park.

What are the debate rules?

Each candidate will have 60 seconds to answer the main question and that will be followed by a 30-second rebuttal for each candidate. When time is up, a bell will sound. If either moderator asks a follow-up question, the candidates will then have 30 seconds to answer that as well. There will be no opening statements, but candidates will be able to give closing remarks.

What will be discussed?

The candidates are expected to discuss key issues for Wichita Falls residents, including the city budget, property taxes, the construction of the MPEC hotel, the city’s confederate monument and more. If you have a question for the candidates, submit it here.

When is the election?

Early voting begins on Oct. 13 and ends Oct. 31.  The last day to submit an application for ballot by mail is Oct. 23.

Election Day is Nov. 3.

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