Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Ted on Debates: Bring it, Ronnie!

Perhaps Goobernor Ted Kulongoski is feeling a little frisky after yesterday's polling results from Rasmussen that showed him with a double digit lead over his Republican challenger Ron Saxton. Perhaps he's never felt this confident about re-election, and wants to press his advantage. Or perhaps he's totally on the sauce and blurted out instructions to his staffers just before blacking out.

Whatever the reason, Kulo has taken the fairly unorthodox position for an incumbent that more is better when it comes to debates:
"With five debates covering a statewide audience and a range of issues for discussion, Oregonians will have multiple opportunities to see a clear contrast between the candidates for governor," said campaign manager Jim Ross. "The dozens of requests we received demonstrate the public's interest in this election and this debate schedule will let us reach voters in every part of Oregon."
Pretty ballsy, but possibly also pretty smart. In a race where both candidates are relatively well known, the risk that voters will be introduced to the challenger and form a favorable first impression is lessened. Kulo's people also may be betting that some of Saxton's proposals are likelier to hurt him than help him, such as his prior suggestion to fire all state workers and rehire them as a way to "reform" PERS, or yesterday's idea to let Portland-area school kids choose any school in the region regardless of residency.

But one often runs into danger trying to worry about the other guy. The best reason for agreeing to five debates, may be that what holds Kulongoski back from greater and stronger popularity is the perception that he's been a cipher in his first term. By showing up to debate so many times, he can feed the idea that he is in fact engaged, does have a plan, and isn't hiding out at Mahonia Hall.

Here's when you can catch Ted v Ron hashing it out for our putative benefit:
Sponsor: Oregon Public Broadcasting/Stand for Children/Children's Institute/Children First for Oregon
Date: Thursday, September 28, 2006
Time: Afternoon - specific time TBD
Broadcast: Open to the media and broadcast live to a statewide audience on radio; re-broadcast on OPB television.

Sponsor: City Club of Portland
Date: Friday, October 13, 2006
Time: 12:00 p.m.
Broadcast: Open to the media and delayed-broadcast to a statewide audience on OPB radio and television.

Sponsor: KGW/The Oregonian
Date: Tuesday, October 17, 2006
Time: 7:00 p.m.
Broadcast: Broadcast live on NW Cable News (statewide) and KGW Channel 8 (Portland)

Sponsor: KOBI
Date: Tuesday, October 24, 2006
Time: 6:30 p.m.
Broadcast: Broadcast live on KOBI Channel 5 (Medford) and KLSR Channel 34 (Eugene)