Wash. Gubernatorial Race: The Debate Over Debates Continues

Mar 26, 2012

OLYMPIA, Wash. – The debate over debates continues in the Washington governor’s race. Republican Rob McKenna announced Monday that he will commit to 15 joint appearances with Democrat Jay Inslee. Meanwhile, Inslee made it official: he will not participate in one debate that’s become a tradition in Washington.

Back in December, Inslee proposed six debates: two in each region of the state: western, central and eastern Washington. Now, McKenna is out with his own proposal: 15 debates beginning in June at the Seattle Rotary. Todd Donovan teaches political science at Western Washington University. He says despite all the posturing by the campaigns, research shows debates usually don’t sway voters.

Todd Donovan: “There will be debates. They’re going to debate. They’ll get that sorted out. And then the question’s going to be come October is right after all this hype about whether they’re going to debate or not is anyone actually even watching them?”

Inslee has said “no” to at least one debate. A June event in Spokane hosted by the Association of Washington Business. That one’s been a regular feature of gubernatorial contests in Washington for 20 years. The Inslee campaign says it’s willing to work with the state’s Chamber of Commerce on future dates.

Copyright 2012 Northwest News Network