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Senator Brian Dahle. (Kevin Sanders for California Globe)

The Need for a Gubernatorial Newsom-Dahle Debate

A debate would allow Californians to hear perspectives they don’t usually hear

By Evan Symon, September 12, 2022 5:04 pm

With less than two months to go until the 2022 election, most races already have all the major events lined up. For many of the bigger and closer races, things like rallies with well-known lawmakers and celebrities can be key. But the biggest event, the one where the opponents square off against each other, is the crown jewel for many. Debates can make or break candidates and provide a forum to really show what kind of person they will be while in office. Plus they offer potential huge jumps in polls.

Despite most races debating this year, there remains a glaring exception: The gubernatorial race. Even a cursory search online finds not even a mention of it, with Senator Brian Dahle (R-Bieber) continuing to ask for a debate as recent as a few weeks ago.

“My biggest challenge obviously is to get known in California,” said Dahle last month. “That’s a positive for me. The challenge for me is to get that message out. We’d love to have a debate with the governor.”

However, despite it being such an important race for California, many have questioned if it was even needed this year. Polls show Governor Gavin Newsom currently leading Dahle by more than a 2-to-1 advantage, 52% to 25%. The same poll found that 58% of all voters simply had no idea who Dahle even was. With Dahle down by so much, then why bother?

The need for a Dahle-Newsom debate

Many political experts, however, reason that a debate is needed due to many factors.

“First of all, it would allow Californians to hear perspectives they don’t usually hear,” explained Justine Rollins, a political advisor and debate organizer, to the Globe on Monday. “With the internet, a lot of people stay in their political echo chamber and just go with the party or whoever the incumbent is. Debates allow candidates to freely express their ideas and what they would do without any added commentary minus a rebuttal or two.”

“Second, it would give political accountability. Candidates say and promise a lot of things during debates. This would effectively make them be accountable in the future, especially when campaign slogans are invoked. And another big reason is that they can melt partisan lines. California has a huge Democratic bloc of voters. Huge. And we have seen in previous debates that this melted somewhat after a debate. That age old saying that debates don’t matter because by the time they happen most people have made up their minds? That is by no means a fact. Debates can change the outcome a bit. In 1992 for example. A third party candidate, Ross Perot, was added to the presidential debates, and he always got a big boost after them.”

During the last non-recall Governor’s race in 2018, a Newsom-Cox debate in October proved to give Republican candidate John Cox a bit of a jump in polls against Newsom.. In previous weeks, polls showed Cox in the high 30’s by percentage. After the debate, Cox went into the 40’s for a few weeks until further campaign issues moved him back down just before the election.

“Dahle is so far behind right now that many are discounting him,” added Rollins. “But he is the only other candidate and he deserves to be heard and go against Newsom. It would also be beneficial to Newsom. The guy loves sound bites, but often has difficulties working in the right ones during press conferences or speeches. In a debate, it would give him that stature. And if he really is running for president in a few years, giving some humility and, you know, proving that you support democracy through things like debates would give him further traction for that. Because he could be asked why he didn’t want to be in a debate a few years ago during the Governor’s race, and he may not have the best response to that.”

As of Monday, there are currently no plans for a 2022 Gubernatorial debate in California.

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14 thoughts on “The Need for a Gubernatorial Newsom-Dahle Debate

  1. We should definitely see a debate between Brian Dahle and Gavin Newsom. Brian Dahle’s perspective would be a breath of fresh air to clear out Newsom’s stinking incomprehensible word salad.
    But just in case Newsom works it so that the only scheduled debate —- if he even agrees to one, which is doubtful —- is at 10 a.m. on a Wednesday on Capradio when no one will hear it (like he did with John Cox in 2018), I thought I would post a Brian Dahle interview with John Phillips on KABC 790 from Sept 7:

    “Gubernatorial candidate Brian Dahle talks with John Phillips – KABC-AM 790”
    https://www.kabc.com/the-john-phillips-show/ (16 mins)

      1. Thanks ShowandTell, I missed that interview.
        We should all write to our dear Governor and urge him to debate. It is the right and just thing to do in a democracy. We need to hear from each candidate together on a stage.

  2. Newsom won’t debate because he is dyslexic. We all know what a debilitating disease that is. (Rolling eyes) (sarcasm)

  3. In 2018 then Lt. Governor Climate Change avoided the first two scheduled debates with all the candidates (Dem and GOP). He appeared at the third and final debate where the GOP candidates John Cox and Travis Allen mopped the floor with him. GCC is afraid to debate because he will be exposed as the fraud and POS that he is! I hope he runs for President because he won’t be able to hide from the debates and his BS!

  4. I will vote for Dahle regardless of a debate status..

    Hell, I would vote for a tree stump over Governor Newsom…(they have about the same mental capacity…)

    But seriously, thanks for those links, Showandtell – hopefully John and Ken on KFI will give Dahle the airtime he deserves…

    California has turned into a real septic pit…

    1. Hope so too about John & Ken having him on as much as possible.
      John Phillips is terrific so I didn’t really understand the semi-contrariness about Dahle. But maybe his goal was to spur him on to get out there and make as much noise as he can, which makes sense.
      To me, Brian Dahle FAR surpasses the Anybody-But-Newsom “standard.”
      I would like to see a debate but I, too, will be voting for Dahle no matter what.

      1. Yes me too. The sight of Newsom repulses me. I do want to see Dahle hit the road and make his case, but please no lions, tigers or bears on the bus????

  5. The idea that we citizens have to beg candidates to participate in debates is crazy. Debates should be mandatory. What is Newsom afraid of?

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