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DALLAS – The dark horse Republican candidate for Texas governor is now invited to debate against the two better-known candidates, after new Rasmussen Reports poll was released Monday.

Debra Medina, a South Texas nurse, has 12 percent of likely Texas GOP voters in her favor, according to the poll.

Current governor Rick Perry has 43 percent of the vote, and U.S. Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison has 33 percent.

WFAA president and general manager Mike Devlin told wfaa.com , “Factoring in the margin of error (+/- 3.5 percent) and using reasonable news judgement, it appears Ms. Medina is a viable candidate and qualifies for the Belo Debate to be broadcast on January 29.”

11 percent of the 831 respondents polled were not sure who they would vote for.

Medina’s popularity soared after the first debate against Hutchison and Perry in Denton last week.

Her campaign issued a statement shortly after the decision, saying the candidate was “thrilled” to be included in the second debate.

“The people are ready for the truth and that is what this campaign is all about; truth, honor and defending the Texas and U.S. Constitution,” said Penny Langford Freeman, Medina’s campaign manager.

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