If the process of selecting a Republican presidential candidate has taught us anything, it's that the world can never have too many political debates of questionable merit. Seizing on this fact, on Monday Washington Republican gubernatorial candidate Rob McKenna challenged his Democratic opponent Jay Inslee to 15 debates in the coming months.
Oh joy. No word yet on whether any will include a steel-cage match.
The good news is, at least to those who prefer quality over quantity, the Inslee campaign tells the Associated Press only three debates have been confirmed so far - a Rotary club debate in Seattle in June, one sponsored by the Washington Clean Technology Alliance in August and another sponsored by the University of Washington-Tacoma in September.
For the sake of comparison, the 2008 Washington governor's race between current-Governor Chris Gregoire and Republican challenger Dino Rossi featured only five debates, spread across the state.
At the time it seemed like enough.
How naive we were back in 2008.
One debate that seems in peril, however, is a previously announced June 12 Spokane debate sponsored by the Association of Washington Business - which has happened every four years since 1992.
As the AP reports:
Inslee spokeswoman Jaime Smith said Monday that the former U.S. representative won't participate in a June 12 Spokane debate sponsored by the Association of Washington Business. She says the organization had operated in bad faith by releasing a statement in January confirming the debate before the Inslee campaign agreed to it.
AWB spokeswoman Jocelyn McCabe disagreed with that assessment, saying the organization has been "very upfront this whole time."
McCabe said that the Inslee campaign never responded to any of their emails, letters or phone calls, and that they needed to pick a date for the gubernatorial debate that the conservative-leaning organization has hosted every four years since 1992. Public radio political reporter Austin Jenkins was set to moderate the debate.
McCabe said she was hopeful that Inslee would reconsider.
"This would be the first time in the history of our debates where we didn't have both candidates attending," she said.
This, of course, raises the question: Might McKenna's suggested 15 gubernatorial debates happen even if he's the only candidate who attends some of them?