Governor Pat McCrory and his challenger Roy Cooper are scheduled to meet at 7 p.m. tonight for their second of three gubernatorial debates.
It's the first of two primetime debates in the weeks leading up to the election. And unlike their June meeting on a Friday afternoon, this clash will be broadcast to a statewide audience.
At their previous debate, the Republican incumbent and Democratic Attorney General sparred over House Bill 2, the state's controversial law that limits protections for LGBT people, and economic conditions for the middle class. The issue of police video footage is also expected to emerge as a topic at tonight’s debate.
Related: McCrory Leads Cooper in Latest Poll
McCrory is trying to avoid becoming the first governor in state history to lose a re-election bid. Cooper has consistently led in the polls - with leads ranging from two to nine points over the last month. He’s also refused calls by McCrory for more debate, an uncommon twist in the election.
Chuck Todd, host of NBC's Meet the Press, will host the debate at Research Triangle Park. It's sponsored by the North Carolina Association of Broadcasters.
Libertarian candidate Lon Cecil was not invited to participate. He will take the stage with McCrory and Cooper at the final debate on October 18.