Inslee, McKenna set 2 more gubernatorial debates
Republican Rob McKenna and Democrat Jay Inslee have agreed to two more debates in Washington's hotly contested gubernatorial race. But additional debates are still uncertain.
Seattle Times political reporter
Republican Rob McKenna and Democrat Jay Inslee have agreed to two more debates in Washington's hotly contested gubernatorial race.
They'll meet in Vancouver, Wash., on Aug. 29 in a debate hosted by local civic, business and government groups.
And they'll debate in Yakima on Oct. 2 in an event sponsored by the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce and KCTS-TV.
As for other meetings, the campaigns continued the usual bickering.
McKenna campaign manager Randy Pepple accused Inslee of trying to avoid as many high-profile, televised debates as possible.
"Jay is scared to appear on the same stage with Rob McKenna," he said.
Earlier this year, McKenna proposed 15 debates across the state. So far, the two candidates have appeared at only one — the Association of Washington Business debate in June in Spokane.
Inslee and McKenna have met at a few other events, but they were not debates. Inslee resisted turning some of those events into side-by-side appearances, preferring separate, moderated question-and-answer sessions.
Inslee's campaign says he has placed five more debates on his schedule. In addition to the Vancouver and Yakima events, Inslee says he plans on a Sept. 27 debate in Tacoma, an Oct. 6 debate organized by the Seattle Center Foundation and KCPQ-TV, and an Oct. 11 debate sponsored by KING5 and The Seattle Times.
Although McKenna had earlier included those on his list of debates, as of Thursday he was not committing to them.
Pepple said he believes the Seattle Times/KING debate "will probably happen" but objected to Inslee's proposed date, which would put the event on the air right after the vice-presidential debate.
Pepple said McKenna might skip the Tacoma and Seattle Center events if Inslee tries to substitute those in place of higher-profile, televised faceoffs closer to the November election.
So far, Inslee has not committed to televised debates offered by KOMO-TV or KIRO-TV.
His spokeswoman, Jaime Smith, said Thursday that Inslee has not ruled out those debates, but has not committed to them either.
Jim Brunner: 206-515-5628 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
On Twitter @Jim_Brunner.