The Dan McKee-Ashley Kalus debate trilogy is set.
The incumbent Democratic governor and his Republican challenger have agreed to three debates before the Nov. 8 election, both campaigns confirmed for me on Thursday evening.
WPRI Channel 12 will kick things off on Oct. 11, followed by a debate hosted by the Providence Journal and The Public’s Radio on Oct. 13, and WJAR Channel 10 is holding the final debate on Nov. 3.
McKee and Kalus appeared at several candidate forums together before their respective primaries, but these debates will be their first opportunities to mix it up head to head. It’s unclear at this point if any of the debates will include the three little-known candidates whose names will also appear on the ballot: Elijah Gizzarelli, Zachary Hurwitz, and Paul Rianna Jr.
So far McKee and Kalus have offered somewhat predictable critiques of each other, with McKee focusing on Kalus being a newcomer to Rhode Island and Kalus going after McKee and the controversial education consulting contract issued by his administration that has now come under scrutiny from multiple law enforcement agencies.
But if they’re squaring off in (presumably) 60-minute debates, they’ll be forced to show their policy chops.
It would be especially fascinating to hear them discuss their views on education during those debates because McKee has built a political career in part on his support for charter schools, while Kalus has pledged to be the education governor.
The first two debates will come before the Oct. 18 deadline to request mail ballot applications, and long before any votes are cast.
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