Governor Gavin Newsom and Senator Brian Dahle (R-Bieber) just agreed to a Gubernatorial debate to be hosted via radio, live video stream, and television.
Finalization of a 2022 California gubernatorial debate has been in the works for the last several months. Until September, Gov. Newsom had not even agreed to an official debate. But, following mounting pressure, fellow Democrats pointing out the need for a debate, and Newsom needing continued debate practice going into a possible Presidential campaign, both Dahle and Newsom finally agreed to a debate in Mid-September.
Since then, while details have been hashed out over the debate, Newsom continued to hold a large lead over Dahle in polls.
Polling in Mid-September found Newsom had a commanding lead of 58% to 31%, while more recent polls from late September showed a slightly narrower margin of 53% to 32%. Despite the slight drop for Newsom, he is still expected to carry the election with around 60% of the vote, similar to his 61.9% 2018 Gubernatorial victory over John Cox and 61.8% voting no on the recall last year. Homelessness, crime, wildfires, housing affordability and other issues have increased in prominence this year, as well as more recent concerns over inflation, abortion rights, and higher consumer prices, leaving the door open for Dahle to possibly make some more gains before the election.
The Newsom-Dahle debate
“Dahle is still trying to climb right now, but Newsom has had a longer history of being in office and having the limelight, not to mention being a Democratic incumbent in a Democratic state,” said Erica Ziegler, an elections consultant who specializes in Gubernatorial races, to the Globe on Tuesday. “Dahle needs to get his name out these before people start voting, and right now, he has had only limited success. If the GOP can pull Newsom down below 60%, which the polls show as doable right now, that will be a win. Newsom will almost certainly win a second term, but if he wins it with yet another lower showing, any future race he is in he will have to explain that away.”
“But in the debate, Newsom cannot treat it like a good way to get soundbites. Republicans have a bit more than usual going for them this year, especially with the crime issue, so if Dahle presses that, especially how it affected Newsom’s home city of San Francisco, he may get some uncomfortable moments out of him. Dahle may only be a state Senator from a more rural area, but he is still a seasoned politician well-versed in the goings-on of the state. Newsom can’t underestimate Dahle and needs to go after him on his abortion record, and Dahl will need to know the right areas to needle Newsom on. The debate will definitely be a highlight, and we’re probably going to hear a lot of different viewpoints from Dahle that Newsom supporters really don’t like to hear brought up.”
With growing anticipation for the debate, during the weekend many details were finally decided. According to KQED, the October 23rd debate will be moderated by KQED’s Scott Shafer and Marisa Lagos. The debate will not be a town hall style, but instead one in conversational format without strict time limits on answers.
“This election, like every election, is a critical moment for the state, and Californians deserve to hear straight from the gubernatorial candidates themselves their visions for the future,” said KQED Vice President of News Ethan Toven-Lindsey. “KQED is honored and excited that Sen. Dahle and Gov. Newsom have agreed to talk with our journalists in this important conversation.”
The debate itself will take place on the radio and live-streaming at 1 P.M., with a rebroadcast on television statewide at 6 P.M. Questions for the candidates can be submitted on the KQED website here.
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