Ken Rudin, the national political commentator in town for tonight’s 7th Congressional District debate, offered some insight this afternoon into what he’s watching for from Democratic Rep. Ami Bera and Republican challenger Doug Ose.
Speaking at a panel of media and educators at Folsom Lake College, Rudin said one big question heading into the first-and-only scheduled debate between the Elk Grove Democrat and three-term former GOP congressman is whether they come into the exchange looking to fortify their respective political bases, or are trying to reach out to elusive undecided voters.
Rudin, known for his Political Junkie segment on National Public Radio, said another thing viewers should look for is whether the candidates try to nationalize the contest – with Bera looking to tie Ose to House Republicans and Ose attempting to yolk Bera to the policies of President Barack Obama. “I’m excited,” Rudin told students and faculty at the college.
Outside, a trio of Bera supporters were already getting into the spirit. One dressed up like the Monopoly man, with a curly white mustache and money brimming from his coat pocket, and wore a “Doug Ose” name tag. He and James Graston, a 65-year-old retired state worker, said the stunt was meant to draw attention to what they view as Ose’s poor record of protecting entitlement programs like Social Security.
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A colorful wheel with phrases like “You Lose!” was held down by a pair of money bags.
Tonight’s debate begins at 7 p.m. in front of a studio audience of about 100 students and members of the public. It is being jointly sponsored by The Sacramento Bee, Capital Public Radio and KVIE, and the Center for California Studies at Sacramento State, Folsom Lake College and the Los Rios Community College District. Watch live at KVIE-TV or tune into Capital Public Radio.
Also, visit sacbee.com for coverage, including a live chat moderated by Bee columnist Dan Walters.