Chapman University on Tuesday offered to host a debate between U.S. Rep. Loretta Sanchez (D-Garden Grove) and ex-congressman Robert K. Dornan.
Dornan immediately agreed to the proposal to meet at the school in Orange sometime in the fall. Sanchez, who is a graduate of Chapman, is considering whether to accept the invitation. Her campaign said it would weigh all proposals for a meeting between the two candidates before taking the next step.
"We will debate him, there is no question about that," said spokesman Lee Godown. But first the campaign wants to review debate invitations before "getting with the Dornan folks to work out an agreement," he said.
Dornan suggested a series of at least four debates, starting at Chapman and then moving on to Garden Grove, Anaheim and Santa Ana.
The debate offer from Chapman came Monday night through Associate Professor Fred Smoller, chairman of the political science department, and was endorsed by the school Tuesday, he said.
Smoller made the proposal at the Monday night meeting of the GOP Central Committee, where he had taken a small class of students to observe the Republican Party's ruling body in action.
He said the debate would be on campus at Memorial Hall and the university would seek to have it televised by OCN and CSPAN. "We will work the details out in September and would expect it to take place in early October," he said.
His students heard Dornan, supervisor candidate Cynthia Coad and Assembly candidate Ken Maddox accept the plaudits of the party, but the three also criticized their opponents for using negative mailers in the primary.
Dornan poked fun at one of his opponents, Lisa Hughes, and called her campaign consultant, Sen. John R. Lewis (R-Orange), "a disgrace" for derogatory campaign mail sent attacking a fellow Republican.
Dornan called for party reconciliation--while saying he would never forgive Lewis--and invited activists to join his campaign to oust Sanchez, the county's only elected Democratic officeholder.