It appeared unlikely as little as a month ago that Republican rivals Tim Donnelly and Neel Kashkari would debate before the June primary election.
But conservative talk radio hosts John Kobylt and Ken Chiampou said Tuesday that they will.
Kobylt and Chiampou, of KFI-AM's "John and Ken" show in Los Angeles, said they will host Kashkari and Donnelly at a gubernatorial debate in Anaheim on May 15. Kashkari confirmed he will attend, while Donnelly's campaign did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
The debate comes after Donnelly, a tea party favorite, challenged Kashkari to an "old-fashioned debate" at a California Republican Party convention in March, but the invitation was dismissed by Kashkari and party leaders.
When Kashkari was asked on the air Tuesday if he was coming to KFI-AM's debate, he said he was "looking forward to it" and that "it'll be a lot of fun." The former U.S. Treasury Department official lags behind Donnelly, a tea party favorite, in public opinion polls.
The primary election is a top-two race, and the radio hosts said Gov. Jerry Brown, the Democratic incumbent, has been invited to attend. The incumbent Democrat is widely expected to finish far ahead of all Republicans in the race.
"Jerry Brown is invited," one of the hosts said. "He can come, and we'll bring ointments to rub on his head."