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Hollywood Sign (Photo: Evan Symon for California Globe)

Third California U.S. Senate Debate Announced For February 20th

Debate will take place at Universal Studios in Hollywood

By Evan Symon, February 9, 2024 2:30 am

A third U.S. Senate between Congressman Adam Schiff (D-CA), former baseball star Steve Garvey (R), Congresswoman Katie Porter (D-CA), and Congresswoman Barbara Lee (D-CA) was announced this week, with the debate to be held at Universal Studios in Hollywood on Tuesday, February 20th.

The debate will be one hour long from 6 P.M. to 7 P.M. and will be hosted by  NBC4, Telemundo 52, and Loyola Marymount University. NBC 4 anchor Colleen Williams, NBC4 chief political reporter Conan Nolan and Noticiero Telemundo 52 anchor Alejandra Ortiz are currently scheduled to moderate the debate.

This debate follows two previous debates. One was already held on January 22nd at the USC Campus in Los Angeles. The other is due to be held next week on the 12th in San Francisco, and is considered the most important debate as it will be the last one before all mail-in ballots arrive in California voters mailboxes. While the San Francisco debate is expected to be the most important, the Hollywood debate will undoubtedly prove to be important as well, as many voters will likely either still have ballots that they will still need to send out or plan to vote in-person on March 5th.

Barring a major incident, it is all but certain that Schiff will qualify for the November ballot, as recent polls have shown him with 25% of the vote or more. Lee, on the opposite end, is likely to only remain as a spoiler candidate for the Democrats, as recent polls have shown that she barely qualified for the 2nd and 3rd debates. The 2nd and 3rd debates will largely be a battle for second place and a slot in the November election alongside Schiff, with Garvey and Porter to duke it out between now and March 5th.

“The second debate up in San Francisco will still be the most important day of the campaigns, because of how close it comes to ballots being mailed out,” explained Stephanie Lewis, a pollster in Southern California, to the Globe on Thursday. “But this Hollywood debate will also prove to be very important. You know, can Schiff maintain? Can Garvey still draw in support and improve his debating performance? Can Porter manage to get more support despite two major Democratic candidates? And Lee I think we can just discount now besides seeing who and how she attacks in the debates.

“Plus, the third debate is taking place in Hollywood, which is Schiff’s home turf. Even Porter and Garvey will likely throw some big jabs at him there. Porter is still mad over all these ads Schiff has going out that Porter claims are trying to make Garvey look good so he faces him instead of her in November. And Garvey could try to blitz Schiff. If he shows improvement in debating on Tuesday and proves more ready, he could really knock Schiff down and show that he won’t be an easy person to beat in the general.”

“I think a debate outside of the Bay Area and LA would have been nice, like in farm country in say Bakersfield or Fresno. Or even in a farther north or south place like Redding or San Diego, just to give some geographic variety. But the third debate, by including Telemundo, will likely focus more on Latino voters, which is huge. Both Garvey and Porter and polling well with them, better than Schiff is. The debate on the 12th may be the biggest one, but the one on the 20th could give some final decisions to crucial voters.”

The third debate will take place in Hollywood on February 20th.

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