The campaigns of both gubernatorial candidates continue to trade accusations of bad faith amid efforts to get both Republican nominee Chris Dudley
and Democratic nominee John Kitzhaber
in the same room at the same time.
Yesterday, the Dudley campaign released a letter
[PDF] from its debate coordinator, Fred Granum, to Kitzhaber's campaign manager, Patricia McCaig, detailing its efforts to communicate with the Kitzhaber campaign about scheduling.
This morning, the Kitzhaber campaign responded by offering another possible date in this statement issued by Kitzhaber's spokeswoman Jillian Schoene:
Today, in partnership with KGW/Channel 8 and The Oregonian, John Kitzhaber offered to adjust his schedule and debate Chris Dudley on September 21.
This marks the tenth debate Kitzhaber has offered – and the second time Kitzhaber has agreed to adjust his schedule – in an effort to ensure Oregon voters are provided the opportunity to compare the candidates side-by-side in a real debate.
Because this means adjusting Kitzhaber's schedule and to provide KGW and The Oregonian with an appropriate amount of time to plan, the campaign also is asking Dudley to respond within 24 hours.
If Dudley agrees, it will represent the only true debate of this year's gubernatorial election. The only other time the two will appear together is on September 25 before the League of Oregon Cities, for which the questions have already been provided to both campaigns.
Kitzhaber has already appeared at two debates and also remains committed to appear before Oregonians at seven other debates between now and Election Day.
In the meantime, as WW
reported earlier, the candidates' only currently scheduled joint appearance comes at the Oregon League of Cities convention in Eugene on Sept. 25. The League of Cities has already furnished the candidates the questions
[PDF] that it will ask, along with background for answers.
Craig Honeyman, legislative director for the League of Cities, says that it was his board's decision to give candidates the questions in advance and that neither candidate asked for them.
Honeyman acknowledges that providing questions in advance reduces the spontaneity of the candidate forum and may reduce the benefit to members of the public trying to make a choice in a race that polls show as a toss-up.
"Part of our goal with the forum is provide candidates a forum to express themselves," Honeyman says. "But a secondary consideration is to provide the next governor an opportunity to be responsive to cities and the issues that are important to cities."
Honeyman noted that his group also invited two minor party candidates, Constitution Party candidate Greg Kord and Libertarian Wes Wagner, to join the debate. Kord has accepted, Honeyman says. Wagner has not yet responded.