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Chief political reporter David Postman explores state, regional and national politics.

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August 4, 2008 4:48 PM

Gregoire, Rossi making debate plans

Posted by Richard Wagoner

This post comes from staff reporter Ralph Thomas:

From the counting-their-chickens file:

There are 10 people running for governor and the primary election is still two weeks away. But that hasn’t stopped Democratic Gov. Christine Gregoire and Republican Dino Rossi from making plans for a series of general election debates.

Gregoire and Rossi said today they have begun accepting debate invitations from various media organizations. But no dates have been set and the campaigns are still at odds over which debates to do.

So far, there are three debates that both sides have agreed to:

  • A Seattle debate hosted by the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, League of Women Voters, KOMO TV, KXLY in Spokane, KATU in Portland

  • A Yakima debate hosted by the Yakima Herald-Republic, Seattle Times and statewide PBS affiliates

  • A Spokane debate hosted by The Spokesman-Review newspaper, KSPS Public TV and 790 KJRB

The Gregoire campaign’s proposed debate schedule also includes a Tacoma debate hosted by the Tacoma News Tribune and several other newspapers and a statewide radio debate hosted by KUOW. Rossi has not yet agreed to those events.

Meanwhile, Gregoire is declining - but Rossi has accepted - an invitation to a debate hosted by KING 5 and The Seattle Times.

Gregoire spokeswoman Debra Carnes said the two campaigns have not yet had discussions about debate schedules. She said the governor tried to pick a mix of debates that covers all regions of the state and different media formats. “Unfortunately, she just can’t do them all,” Carnes said.

Rossi said he’s open to doing as many debates as possible. “I just want to make sure there’s maximum exposure,” Rossi said. “If we do it, I don’t want it to be in a vacuum.”

Gregoire and Rossi appeared in four televised debates in 2004.

Still no word yet on debate plans from any of the lesser-known governor candidates: Christopher Tudor, James White, Will Baker, Duff Badgley, John Aiken, Christian Pierre Joubert, Javier Lopez and Mohammad H. Said.

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