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Gov, AG debates today in Spokane

Just a reminder that the two likely finalists for governor and state attorney general will be debating this afternoon in Spokane at the Bing Crosby Theater.

Democrat Bob Ferguson and Republican Reagan Dunn are up first in the debates sponsored by the Association of Washington Business and Greater Spokane Inc. The attorney general candidates debate at 2 p.m.

Democrat Jay Inslee, the former congressman, and Republican Rob McKenna, the current attorney general, are on at 3:30 p.m.

Moderator for both debates is Austin Jenkins of Northwest Public Radio. If you don't have a ticket, both debates will be carried live on TVW, and on NPR stations around Washington. And Spin Control will be live-blogging the governor's race.

The AG's race probably has the less familiar candidates, especially in Eastern Washington...

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. . . Ferguson and Dunn are both King County Councilmembers, both members of that body's Law, Justice, Health and Human Services Committee, both "up and comers" in their respective party ranks. Dunn's district is in Southeast King County; Ferguson's is in North King County.

Both have good pedigrees for their respective parties. Ferguson is the son of a Boeing worker and a school teacher. Dunn is the son of former GOP State Chairwoman and U.S. Rep. Jennifer Dunn. Both are married, with two-year olds at home (Possible advantage to Fergusnon, who has twins while Dunn only has one. )

Dunn has his law degree from University of Washington; Ferguson's is from New York University. Dunn clerked for state Supreme Court Justice Barbara Durham, worked for the Department of Justice in Florida and the District of Columbia and the U.S. Attorney's office in Seattle. Ferguson clerked for U.S. District Judge Frem Nielsen in Spokane -- look for an Eastern Washington reference during the debate -- and for the 8th Circuit Court of Appeals before joining what is  now the mega firm of KL Gates.

If Dunn wins, it would be the second time he followed in McKenna's footsteps. He was appointed to McKenna's county council seat in 2005 when McKenna was first elected state attorney general.

And if McKenna wins, he'll be the second attorney general in a row to move from that office to the governor's mansion..

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Jim Camden
Jim Camden joined The Spokesman-Review in 1981. He is currently the political reporter and state government reporter in the newspaper's Olympia bureau office.

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