State election season is in full swing. And, predictably, things are getting heated in Washington. The good news is we've got several debates coming up that should provide fodder and add fuel to the fire. Some of these debates are expected ... and some of them are perhaps not so expected.
The big ones, of course, are the gubernatorial debates; two of them will go down next week. But there's also the highly-anticipated spar between Democrat Maria Cantwell and her Republican challenger, Michael F-Baumgartner, not to mention an east-of-the-mountains duel between 8th District incumbent Republican Dave Reichert and his scrappy Democratic challenger Karen Porterfield.
The Reichert vs. Porterfield faceoff - scheduled for Tuesday in Wenatchee - may be the least expected of the bunch, considering, up until this point, Reichert and his gobs of cash have seemed inclined to simply pretend like Porterfield doesn't exist.
As part of its strategy for increasing Porterfield's name recognition and hopefully evening a campaign-contributions playing field that's severely slanted in Reichert's direction, the Porterfield campaign has been attempting to pressure the Republican incumbent into debating her for some time. Given the fact a debate has finally been agreed upon, one can only expect Porterfield will throw everything she's got at Reichert tomorrow night in Wenatchee.
"I firmly believe that everyone has a right to hear their representatives explain how they are addressing the challenges that this Country faces," says Porterfield of the debate in an announcement to supporters.
The scheduling of a Baumgartner vs. Cantwell faceoff - scheduled for Oct. 12 at KCTS-TV in Seattle - also comes as happy news for the challenger, who has long pined for the opportunity to showcase the differences between his foreign policy objectives and Cantwell's voting record, especially as it relates to the war in Afghanistan (which, as we know, is Baumgartner's big issue).
The debate will mark one of the more public appearances Cantwell has made this campaign season.
As the PI's Joel Connelly noted on the "Strange Bedfellows" blog a few weeks back:
Cantwell has raised money and a $1 million-plus-per quarter rate over the past two years, and has been visible mainly in her TV spots. She is heavily favored for reelection, and has published few schedules listing where she will be and what she is doing. The state's press has not called her on this.
Naturally, Baumgartner seems primed to pounce.
"I am glad to hear that Maria Cantwell has conceded that she has a responsibility to Washington's voters and finally decided to debate," Baumgartner announced Sept. 14 in a predictably (and perhaps even called for) snarky tone. "And considering the events of this past week, I believe that we should start off with a robust exchange on foreign policy. She needs to explain her record in the Middle East and her support of the war in Afghanistan."
And, of course, two gubernatorial debates are scheduled in the coming weeks. McKenna and Inslee will have verbally spared a total of six times this season by the time things are said and done. Five TV stations will carry the McKenna vs. Inslee heavyweight faceoff planned for Oct. 11 at KOMO studios, and five days later the candidates will again come together their final scheduled debate on KING 5 co-sponsored by the Seattle Times.