By Jerry Cornfield Herald Writer
Democratic U.S. Rep. Jay Inslee on Monday called for six debates with Republican Attorney General Rob McKenna to help voters decide which of them should be elected the state’s next governor.
Inslee wants to hold two each in eastern, central and western Washington before the November 2012 election. He is seeking a range of formats including television and radio.
His campaign manager, Joby Shimomura, made the request Monday in a note to McKenna’s campaign manager, Randy Pepple.
At this stage, Inslee and McKenna are their respective party’s leading candidates for governor.
Such requests for debates typically come from candidates trailing in a race. To this point, every publicly released poll of voters shows McKenna leading Inslee by several points.
“I guarantee you that Rob McKenna will agree to more debates than Congressman Inslee will,” Pepple said.
He said they’ve already agreed to do two debates — one in Yakima to be hosted by the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce and one in Spokane to be sponsored by the Association of Washington Business.
Pepple said he’s waiting to hear if Inslee has agreed to those as well.
“We have a list of organizations who have invited us to debates, and we are very interested in discussing mutually agreeable dates, locations and topics,” said Jaime Smith, an Inslee campaign spokeswoman. “That’s why we initiated the conversation with McKenna’s campaign.”
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