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Rep. Loretta Sanchez appears to shun invitation for Sacramento Senate debate

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

Orange County Rep. Loretta Sanchez’s campaign appears to have shunned a U.S. Senate debate in September that was proposed by the Sacramento Bee and other media outlets.

The proposed Sept. 20 debate was one of two in which her rival, California Atty. Gen. Kamala Harris, had agreed to participate.

According to the Sacramento Bee, the Sanchez campaign has not responded to the formal debate invitation issued by the newspaper and other sponsors, KUVS-TV Univision 19, KVIE-TV, Capital Public Radio and Sacramento State.

Sanchez political consultant Bill Carrick said he told the debate sponsors that the campaign was going to explore “all of its options” on which invitations to accept. Those decisions are not going to be dictated by a deadline set by those hoping to host the Sacramento debate, he said.

Carrick also noted that one of the Senate debates in the primary was held in Stockton, the same media market as Sacramento, and that it would be better to hold the event in a different region of the state – including the Bay Area.

Carrick criticized the Harris campaign earlier this month for “arrogantly announcing” that she would participate in only two debates. Carrick said the Senate race should have at least three debates, the same number scheduled for the presidential race.

He said Sanchez campaign has received several debate invitations, including one in the Central Valley sponsored by television stations in Bakersfield and Fresno. Carrick said Sanchez was willing to participate in that debate and he questioned why Harris was not.

Carrick said Sanchez will likely participate in a debate sponsored by the Pat Brown Institute for Public Affairs at Cal State Los Angeles on Oct. 5. Harris has agreed to that debate.

Harris political consultant Sean Clegg said the campaign received approximately 10 debate invitations and accepted two with high quality sponsors and access to large audiences. They also wanted one debate to be in Northern California and one in Southern California.

“The Sanchez campaign has killed one of those debates,” Clegg said.

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