Spin Control

Gubernatorial debate tonight; U.S Senate Friday

Joe Biden and Paul Ryan aren't the only debate on the schedule tonight for Washington voters.

In a sense, they are the opening act for Jay Inslee and Rob McKenna, who will debate in Seattle at 9 p.m. (Although some people might argue the governor's debate is more like the second movie at the drive-in double feature, the one many people don't bother to stay up to watch all the way to the end. But it's all about personal preferences.)

The debate is such a huge deal in Seattle that it is on most of the city's broadcast stations, and most are supplying a moderator or questioner to the show. In Spokane, KREM-TV is carrying it.

Ryan v. Biden is a 90 minute event, which starts at 6 p.m. local time. McKenna v. Inslee is scheduled for 60 minutes.

Speaking of debates, what is likely to be the only debate of the U.S. Senate race between Democratic incumbent Maria Cantwell and Republican challenger Mike Baumgartner occurs Friday, also in Seattle at KCTS-TV, the public television studio. The Spokesman-Review will be there for same day coverage on the web and print coverage the next morning. It will air in Spokane next Tuesday, on KSPS-TV, channel 7.

The folks at KSPS worked mightily to bring a second Senate debate to Spokane, but the Cantwell people have so far only agreed to one debate, total.

There's a precedent for Cantwell agreeing to a late debate in Spokane. That happened in 2000, in her run against incumbent Slade Gorton, when no one was sure until the last minute whether she'd appear at a Rotary-sponsored debate. Her campaign said no, then it said yes, but she almost didn't make it because fog was delaying flights that morning at Spokane International Airport.

If something similar happens this year, it may not appear on the tube. Late commitments are hard to work into a television schedule.




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