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GLENDALE : Assembly Rivals OK Series of 6 Debates

The chief rivals in the race to represent Glendale and Burbank in the state Assembly have tentatively agreed to debate at least six times, and to essentially combine their campaigns in October for a two-week stint of joint appearances.

Incumbent Republican James Rogan and Democratic challenger Adam Schiff said Wednesday that a series of weekly debates will probably begin next month and continue until the Nov. 8 election. Though details are still sketchy, the debates are expected to be hosted by service clubs, business groups and other organizations throughout the 43rd Assembly District.

“We got together last week to discuss what kind of campaign we want to have,” said Schiff, a former assistant U.S. attorney.

“We decided we wanted the debates to be very freewheeling, not stilted, so we would be able to ask one another questions and rebut our opponent’s answers.”

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Rogan, a former Glendale Municipal Court judge, won a special election in May to replace former Assemblyman Pat Nolan. Nolan pleaded guilty to a corruption charge and is now serving a prison term.

With the presumed advantages of incumbency on his side, Rogan said, Schiff stands to gain more from the debates than he does, but said he agreed to them for philosophical reasons.

“From a good-government perspective I think incumbents ought to debate, to give the people a chance to hear you express your views,” he said. “I would not want to represent a district with which I am in disagreement on the issues.”

If all goes as planned, Rogan said, the two camps will combine their daily schedules for two weeks in October, with candidates making joint appearances at Republican and Democratic functions, and other events.

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Both candidates said they hope this approach will bolster public confidence in the political system.


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