After what is proving to be a long, contentious battle between two same-party competitors, Kevin de León (D-Los Angeles) and Dianne Feinstein (D-San Francisco) will finally meet prior to next month’s election in what the Public Policy Institute of California (PPIC) has dubbed a “conversation.”
Taking place on Wednesday October 17th at noon, the San Francisco event will stream live for the public to view. While Feinstein’s team has declared the event a “debate,” de León clearly rejects the characterization in agreement with the PPIC’s label of “conversation.” Although the two rivals will appear on a stage next to each and answer questions from a moderator, just as a normal debate would run, they will not be allowed to address each other’s answers as would happen in a true debate forum. Instead, the event will be a very similar style conversation as the one that took place Monday between the two gubernatorial candidates. According to the Sac Bee, a PPIC spokesperson said “this is because we feel like we have a lot of substantive issues that we want to get through and we’re trying to maintain order.”
De León’s campaign spokesperson Jonathan Underland, told the California Globe that a traditional televised debate on primetime is something they have been pushing for so that millions could watch. Instead, the forum will commence during a break in the middle of the day at lunchtime.
De León has seemingly played the role of constant attacker accusing Feinstein of dodging opportunities to face off with him in public. In fact, he has been pushing the incumbent Senator for a number of debates which Feinstein has yet to accept. De León’s campaign sent out an email blast this week stating, “She is set on denying the people of California an opportunity to see and hear her debate.” Shockingly, Feinstein has not debated since her 2000 re-election bid 18 years ago.
According to the most recent poll, De León has cut Feinstein’s lead by nearly 11 points and only trails 40-29 percent. He will need a stout performance here to gain more numbers.