In one of the most closely watched congressional races in the nation, U.S. Rep. Dan Lungren, a Republican from Gold River, faces off again against Dr. Ami Bera, a Democrat, this time for the redrawn 7th Congressional District.
The stakes are enormous both for the 7th District and the balance of power in Washington. Republicans are vying to control both houses of Congress and the White House. While that may be ambitious, they certainly don't want to let Democrats knock off incumbents and narrow their majority in the U.S. House.
Lungren and Bera ran against each other two years ago, but have never debated face to face. That will change on Tuesday. Both have agreed to appear in an hourlong debate at 3 p.m. that day, sponsored by The Bee, News 10 and Capital Public Radio.
It might be easy to overestimate the impact of this debate. Both parties along with outside groups are spending huge sums on mailers and advertising. That could end up swaying voters on the fence. Voter turnout for each party on Nov. 6 could also determine the winner.
But this debate could be pivotal, especially if both politicians are forced to break from their sound bites and engage with each other on their clear policy differences. Will the veteran politician, Lungren, teach Bera the finer points of debate technique? Or will Bera exceed expectations and put Lungren on the defensive?
If you are a voter in the 7th District, we urge you to tune in. John Myers, political editor with News 10, will moderate the debate and Marianne Russ, senior reporter with Capital Public Radio, and Dan Smith, The Bee's Capitol Bureau chief, will also be asking questions of the candidates. Bera and Lungren will also get a chance to pose a question to each other.
FOLLOW THE DEBATE
The Sacramento Bee will stream the debate live at 3 p.m. Tuesday on sacbee.com.
News 10 and Capital Public Radio will also stream the debate live on their websites. On Wednesday, The Bee will publish a story on the debate, News10 will air the debate at 9 a.m. and Capital Public Radio will broadcast it at 10 a.m. on "Insight."
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