With the Washington State Primary just days behind him, Republican primary winner Dino Rossi has challenged Democrat incumbent Patty Murray to a series of public debates as he vies for the Senate seat she has occupied since 1993. From Rossi’s press release:
The U.S. Senate race is one of the most important elections in the State of Washington in 2010. Given the importance of this election, and the desire for voters to make an informed decision this fall, I propose we hold five debates in Washington State, in addition to one nationally televised debate. I further propose we hold one debate in each media market hosted by local civic organizations, with two debates in the Seattle area.
The five debates in Washington State would be Lincoln-Douglas style, in which we would be allotted equal time to make opening statements, ask questions of each other, introduce new ideas, or defend policy positions. A timekeeper would ensure each side adheres to time limits which are mutually agreed upon.
This is an opportunity for us to question each other on various policy positions in a manner which allows the public, not the press or interest groups, to dictate the issues covered.
The Washington Primary was flush with Republican contenders, some of whom earned noteworthy numbers. Pooling the votes cast for various candidates into “Rossi” and “Murray” voters (see graphic below), the two candidates are dead even heading for the General Election in November. In a left leaning state with a Democrat incumbent, that’s a significant statement.