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Loretta Sanchez makes counteroffer in heated negotiations over California Senate debates

U.S. Rep. Loretta Sanchez, left, and California Atty. Gen. Kamala Harris. (Associated Press)
U.S. Rep. Loretta Sanchez, left, and California Atty. Gen. Kamala Harris. (Associated Press)

U.S. Senate candidate Loretta Sanchez wants to have four debates — seeking to double the two proposed by her rival in the November election, Atty. Gen. Kamala Harris.

The two campaigns traded barbs in early August after the Harris campaign announced she would participate in two forums, including one in Sacramento that Sanchez later rejected. At the time, Sanchez political consultant Bill Carrick criticized the Harris campaign in early August for “arrogantly announcing” her terms.

The Democratic congresswoman from Orange, the underdog in the race, demanded more in her counterproposal. She also made clear she was declining to participate in the Sacramento debate. Carrick said one of the Senate primary debates was held in Stockton, the same media market as Sacramento.

Here are the debates Sanchez is proposing:

  • Oct. 5, sponsored by the Pat Brown Institute for Public Affairs at Cal State Los Angeles, KABC TV in Los Angeles and ABC affiliate stations in the state.              
  • Oct. 14, sponsored by UCLA and NBC affiliate stations. 
  • A debate sponsored by KCBS/KCAL TV in Los Angeles and CBS affiliate stations in the state. The date has yet to be determined.                      
  • Nov. 3, sponsored by KPCC-FM in Los Angeles and public radio stations in California.

Harris had agreed to the Oct. 5 debate and one on Sept. 20 in Sacramento, with her political consultant Sean Clegg saying her campaign evaluated approximately 10 invitations and accepted two with high quality sponsors and access to large audiences. They wanted one debate to be in Northern California and one in Southern California.

“I challenge Ms. Harris to four debates on the complex issues a United States Senator will face including foreign relations, homeland security, national economy and immigration reform,” Sanchez said in a statement released on Tuesday. ”I look forward to a substantive debate with Ms. Harris on our records and our clear understanding of that national and international issues we face.”

Harris later rejected Sanchez's debate offer.

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