U.S. Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers and Lisa Brown are scheduled to appear tonight in Walla Walla at their final public debate before the midterm election.
The debate begins at 6 p.m. on the campus of Walla Walla Community College, and is being jointly hosted by the city’s chamber of commerce and Northwest Public Broadcasting. Organizers expect more than 440 people to attend, with overflow rooms booked to accommodate those who won’t fit into the college’s theater, said Steve Owens, the director of member services for the chamber.
“It’s at capacity,” Owens said. “It took us 36 hours to fill up our theater.”
Those hoping to watch the debate live may tune in to KWSU-TV, if they have access to the signal. DirecTV customers can watch on channel 10. Others will have to settle for an online stream at KWPB.org or on the public broadcaster’s Facebook page, facebook.com/northwestpublicbroadcasting.
A taped broadcast will air on KSPS World antenna channel 7.2 at 6 p.m. Thursday and 8 p.m. Saturday. It also will air on KSPS antenna channel 7.1 at 7 p.m. Monday.
Wednesday’s debate will be moderated by Bertha J. Clayton, an associate immigration attorney at the firm Hernandez Immigration Law in Walla Walla. Questions have been gathered from chamber of commerce members, and through phone calls and emails, Owens said. In addition, the candidates have each prepared one question for their opponent that will be asked during the hourlong debate.
The Walla Walla debate will be the fourth and final public debate of the race, and the first to take place outside of Spokane city limits. The candidates met previously at a debate hosted by the Northwest Passages community forum with KHQ-TV and The Spokesman-Review on Sept. 19. They followed that debate with back-to-back appearances last week hosted by Greater Spokane Incorporated and KXLY, and Rotary 21 of Spokane.
McMorris Rodgers earned a plurality of the nearly 15,000 votes cast in the August primary in the portion of Walla Walla that lies within the 5th Congressional District, winning just shy of 50 percent of ballots. Brown took second place in the blanket primary, with 43.5 percent of the vote.
Ballots have been mailed for the general election and are due Nov. 6.