Republican gubernatorial candidate Neel Kashkari is getting his wish -- or one-tenth of his wish to be precise. He and Gov. Jerry Brown will meet for a face-to-face debate on Sept. 4.
Kashkari had challenged Brown to 10 debates, but until now, Brown had brushed off that proposition. Most polls show Brown leading Kashkari by about 20 points, and last month the governor told reporters he “hadn’t made up (his) mind” as to whether or not he’d debate the former U.S. Treasury Department official.
But both Brown and Kashkari campaigns have now agreed to the September debate, which will be produced by KQED, the Los Angeles Times, the California Channel and Telemundo California. KQED’s senior California politics and government editor, John Myers, will moderate the one-hour forum. Journalists from the Los Angeles Times and Telemundo will ask the candidates questions as well.
The debate comes early in the fall campaign -- a full two months before election day, and three weeks before ballots are mailed out. Brown's spokesman, Dan Newman, said this is the only debate in which the governor will participate. Brown debated Republican Meg Whitman three times in 2010.
"We look forward to what we hope will be a thoughtful and substantive event," said Newman. “We’re particularly pleased that the diverse and respected group of media hosts will make it available and accessible to virtually every interested Californian."
The Kashkari campaign is still holding out hope for more face-to-face meetings, though.
"We are glad the governor has accepted this debate invitation and we sincerely hope it will be the first of many opportunities for Neel and Governor Brown to speak directly to Californians about their plans for our state," said campaign spokeswoman Mary-Sarah Kinner. "After all, Governor Brown has previously been an advocate for more debating."
Cal Channel will air the debate and also offer the satellite feed to television stations across the state. Additionally, Telemundo stations will broadcast a Spanish translation of the forum in Los Angeles, San Francisco, Fresno, and Sacramento.
KQED’s statewide radio program, The California Report, will also air the debate.