NBC Palm Springs and The Desert Sun will co-host a debate on Oct. 16 from 6 to 7 p.m. between candidates running to represent California’s 36th Congressional District in the U.S. House of Representatives.
The race pits the Democratic incumbent Rep. Raul Ruiz against Kimberlin Brown Pelzer, a first-time Republican candidate. The debate will be moderated by veteran journalist Hank Plante, who currently serves as NBC Palm Springs’ political analyst and a Desert Sun Editorial Board member.
The debate will cover issues facing Congress, from local concerns to foreign policy. In addition to Plante’s questions, candidates also will be asked video questions from the community.
Ruiz and Brown Pelzer disagree on many issues, but they agree the debate will be a useful forum to show the public their positions.
“I’m very excited for people in our district to have the opportunity to hear from the candidates before the election,” Brown Pelzer said.
Ruiz said he hopes the debate will give him an opportunity to summarize the work he’s done in Congress for seniors, veterans, the middle class and small businesses.
“It’s an important part of the Democratic process and a great opportunity for voters to see the clear differences in our policies and priorities.”
Julie Makinen, executive editor of The Desert Sun, said she looks forward to partnering with NBC Palm Springs for what is sure to be a lively hour of discussion.
“It can be incredibly informative when two candidates vying for the same office come face-to-face in front of an audience to answer questions spontaneously, articulate their policy differences, and yes, debate,” Makinen said. “Unscripted forums provide us, the voters, a chance to see how candidates think on their feet and handle unanticipated challenges.”
NBC Palm Springs News Director Gino Lamont said he also looks forward to hearing from candidates directly, in their own words.
“Whenever live TV is involved, it’s always the unexpected that I look forward to and frankly, fear. As news director I, of course, want the debate to go exactly as planned. But in a heated debate between two worthy opponents, fireworks are likely to follow,” he said.
Lamont called the collaboration between NBC Palm Springs and The Desert Sun “one of the things I love about journalists,” and highlighted the many ways viewers will be able to experience the debate, which will be broadcast on NBC Palm Springs and live-streamed on desertsun.com. It will also be translated live into Spanish for viewers to watch on Univision Palm Springs and noticiasya.com.
“Combining resources, formats and multiple languages will allow us to reach the maximum amount of voters,” Lamont said.
Story Credit: Samuel Metz, The Desert Sun