Representative Lois Capps has accepted an invitation to attend a debate–scheduled for October 28 at 2:00 p.m.–with Republican 23rd congressional candidate Tom Watson that will be hosted by KEYT and The Daily Sound. However, when it willl air is still ambiguous said a KEYT representative. Watson’s campaign manager, John Van Winkle, stated that Watson would attend the debate once he was officially invited.

There’s also a candidate’s forum scheduled for October 23 at 2:00 p.m. to be hosted by The Student Senate at Santa Barbara City College.

Watson’s campaign voiced concerns over a lack of political discourse this late in the election. A press release issued by his office stated, “It’s unacceptable to wait until the end of October to have a debate. The candidates for Governor have already had two debates and have more scheduled. The candidates for U.S. Senate have already had three debates and more scheduled. Even our candidates for Assembly have already had debates.”

Capps’s press representative was open to both events and stated through a press release that, “[Capps’s] Tea-Party endorsed Republican opponent would obviously prefer to talk endlessly about debates rather than explain to the people of the Central and South Coast that he wants to privatize Social Security and Medicare, repeal the health care reform law so that insurance companies have free reign to deny coverage to children, and cut the Veterans’ Administration budget.”

The campaign office of John Hager, who is running as an Independent, was contacted regarding the debate and told The Independent that Hager was informally invited but has not yet received confirmation that the other candidates will be attending.

KEYT confirmed casual talks between all appropriate parties involved and told The Independent that everyone has informally committed. KEYT and The Daily Sound are reportedly still coordinating to figure out the logistics.

[UPDATE, 3:00 p.m.]: After multiple attempts failed to follow-up with representatives from the The Daily Sound and KEYT regarding some of the debates’ unanswered logistical questions, Hager contacted The Independent this afternoon and cleared up some of the confusion.

According to Hager, who said he spoke directly with The Daily Sound‘s Jeremy Gordon and SBCC’s Atty Garfinkel, the first debate will in fact take place on October 23 on the City College campus. It will be moderated by students, he said, and each candidate will be given 60 seconds to deliver an opening statement. After that, candidates will have 60 seconds to answer questions devised by students and will be allowed 15 seconds to rebut the other candidates’ responses.

The KEYT/Daily Sound debate—which will be aired on October 31—will follow a similar format except that candidates will be given 30 seconds to rebut. It’ll be moderated by Paula Lopez and Josh Molina. Hager expressed concern that the debate will be aired so close to the November 2 election date as most people, he said, vote by mail-in ballots and will have turned them in by then.

Hager said he has formally accepted the invitations to both debates, and expects to see his two opponents there as well.


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