NEWPORT NEWS, Va. (WVEC) -- Republican Ed Gillespie and Democrat Ralph Northam will face off Monday night in their final debate before next month's election.
Hours before the debate, a new poll shows Northam is in the lead.
The poll from the Wason Center for Public Policy at Christopher Newport University shows 49 percent of voters surveyed are in favor of Northam, while 42 percent of those polled like Gillespie.
The poll also showed that 33 percent of Gillespie supporters feel that "illegal immigration" was an important problem where they live. By comparison, only six percent of those who preferred Northam felt that way.
Gillespie and Northam will hold the last of their three televised debates on Monday night at the University of Virginia's College at Wise. The discussion will focus both on issues specific to rural Virginians, and on matters that affect the Commonwealth as a whole.
The southwest Virginia debate comes a month before Election Day in a year when only two states are electing new governors. Virginia's swing state status has led to intense national interest, with President Donald Trump recently weighing in on Twitter to attack Northam and urge voters to support Gillespie.
Southwest Virginia, home to the state's economically depressed coal country, went heavily for Trump, and Gillespie likely will need similar support to win.
The debate begins at 7 p.m. and can be watched online by clicking here.