Tuesday we wrote about republican gubernatorial candidate Rob McKenna challenging his democratic challenger, Jay Inslee, to a whopping 15 debates before November's election. At the time, one debate that seemed unlikely to happen was the traditional Association of Washington Business (AWB) debate in Spokane, which has happened every year since 1992 and is typically considered an event geared toward conservatives.
Citing an act of bad faith on the part of the AWB, alleging the organization collaborated with McKenna on scheduling and announced the debate before Inslee had officially accepted the invitation, the Inslee campaign said earlier this week that the democratic candidate would not be in attendance for the June 12 debate in Spokane.
Yesterday the Inslee campaign had a change of heart, announcing he'd participate in the AWB debate after all.
"We had been hoping that we could find a different date, one that could be closer to the election," said Inslee spokeswoman Jaime Smith. "But if they are committed to doing that date in June, fine, we'll try to make that work."
AWB previously has held its debates in September, but moved this one up to June. The debate, held since 1992, has traditionally drawn both major-party candidates.
As is customary in political tiffs like this, the McKenna campaign pounced on the announcement as a chance to stick it to Inslee, with McKenna campaign spokesman Charles McCray quoted as saying, "We're glad Mr. Inslee gave in to public pressure, regained his senses and agreed to the AWB debate."