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Noozhawk, KEYT Invite Capps, Maldonado to Debate

Live televised event would feature candidates in closely watched contest for 24th Congressional District seat

Noozhawk and KEYT have invited incumbent Lois Capps and challenger Abel Maldonado to participate in a live, televised debate in their race for Congress.

Invitations went out this week for the debate, which would be held sometime in the first half of October.

Both campaigns have expressed interest in participating, but the details and scheduling remain to be worked out, according to Bill Macfadyen, Noozhawk’s founder and publisher.

The proposed format for the hour-long debate on KEYT would include opening statements from each candidate, questions submitted by journalists from both Noozhawk and KEYT, and questions contributed by readers and viewers of the two news agencies, according to C.J. Ward, KEYT’s news director.

KEYT’s news staff would provide a moderator for the debate, which would be conducted at the station’s studios on Miramonte Drive in Santa Barbara.

“We know our local congressional race is one of the most competitive in the country this election, and we’re excited to partner with KEYT to offer a chance for these two experienced and well-matched candidates to meet in a live debate,” Macfadyen said. “The format also allows KEYT’s viewers and Noozhawk’s readers to follow at their convenience at home.

“We’re also inviting the public to submit suggested questions that our organizations’ professional news staffs will consider for inclusion. We think this is a unique opportunity for the community and for the campaigns.”

Capps, a Democrat, has represented the Central Coast for the past 14 years, in a district spanning the coastal area from Oxnard in Ventura County north to Monterey County.

After starting his political career in the city of Santa Maria, Maldonado, a Republican, has represented the Central Coast in the Assembly and state Senate, and was appointed lieutenant governor by then-Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger. He lost a bid to retain that position in 2010.

The congressional district as previously drawn was tilted heavily in registration to Democrats, and was often cited as an example of gerrymandering to protect an incumbent.

However, redistricting after the 2010 census created a new 24th Congressional District that is much more evenly divided between Democrats and Republicans.

As a result, the Capps-Maldonado contest is considered to be one of the most competitive congressional races in the nation, with several pollsters rating it a toss-up.

National political parties and other political groups are expected to pour hundreds of thousands of dollars into the contest.

The election will be held Tuesday, Nov. 6.

Noozhawk executive editor Tom Bolton can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

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