Kamala Harris and Loretta Sanchez, the Democrats running to succeed U.S. Sen. Barbara Boxer of California, have agreed to hold one general election debate.
The Sanchez campaign and debate sponsors confirmed Wednesday that the Oct. 5 debate from Los Angeles would proceed after weeks of wrangling over the fall schedule. Harris, the frontrunner, came out first in agreeing to the Los Angeles debate, as well as a planned Sept. 20 TV debate in Sacramento.
Sanchez, said two head-to-head debates would not suffice, and refused to participate in the Sacramento event. On Tuesday, she challenged Harris to a series of four debates, all in Los Angeles. Harris’ camp has maintained that if Sanchez wanted more than one meeting she should have agreed to appear in Sacramento for the debate proposed by The Sacramento Bee, KUVS Univision 19, KVIE, Capital Public Radio and California State University, Sacramento.
Sanchez spokesman Luis Vizcaino said Wednesday that Sanchez has accepted the Oct. 5 debate, sponsored by KABC-TV, the Edmund G. “Pat” Brown Institute for Public Affairs and the League Women Voters.
Despite the agreement, both campaigns continued to spar.
Vizcaino said Harris’ refusal to amend her original schedule and accommodate three additional events on TV or radio amounts to her “closing the door on the voters.”
“It is the height of arrogance and the voters will close the door on her,” Vizcaino quipped.
Harris strategist Sean Clegg noted that the Oct. 5 KABC debate will be the third of the U.S. Senate campaign, adding “if the Sanchez campaign was sincere about wanting a fourth debate, they could have accepted The Sacramento Bee’s offer.”
“The truth is, the Sanchez campaign is just playing politics,” Clegg said. “After rejecting the Bee because they said they wanted debates all over the state, they proposed four debates in the L.A. media market. It’s simply not credible. It doesn’t add up. But I want to be clear we’ll see them in L.A. on Oct. 5.”