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Capital University News, California State University, Sacramento

August 14, 2003

Note: Debate date changed to September 24, 2003
CSUS to host statewide recall candidate debate

Media: More information is available from CSUS public affairs at (916) 278-6156 or the California Broadcasters Association at (916) 444-2237 or

Seating at the debate will be by invitation.

The California Broadcasters Association, representing the 962 television and radio stations throughout the state, today announced plans to host a statewide debate on Wednesday, Sept. 17 at California State University, Sacramento to prepare Californians for the upcoming special election.

The debate has been designed to provide California voters with an opportunity to educate themselves about the recall, the candidates running for governor, and important issues affecting the state. It is sponsored by the broadcaster’s association and CSUS.

“The broadcasters are honored to play a vital role educating California voters in the upcoming special election,” said Stan Statham, President/CEO of the California Broadcasters Association. “This debate will most likely provide California voters the only chance to see and hear from the candidates in a live, unfiltered format.”

The 90-minute debate will be available to all California radio and television stations, and will also be offered in Spanish and with closed caption capabilities.

“Because of the unique nature of this election, the California Broadcasters Association is breaking ground, proposing a new format and structure for the debate,” Statham said. “We are forgoing the traditional podium scenario to bring California voters a ‘conversational give and take’ roundtable environment, including questions asked by everyday Californians on important issues impacting our state.”

The broadcaster’s association is also producing a 30-minute program to increase voter awareness of the upcoming recall election. The program will feature segments by Secretary of State Kevin Shelley and opponents and proponents of the recall election. Gov Gray Davis will also be given the opportunity to appeal to voters and provide his perspective on the recall election.

Debate details

Overview: A 90-minute debate, sponsored by the California Broadcasters Association and California State University, Sacramento will provide viewers and listeners with an opportunity to educate themselves about the recall election, the candidates running for governor, and critical issues affecting the state. The statewide debate, available to all radio and television stations, will give California voters one of the few, if not the only chance, to see and hear the candidates in a live, unfiltered format. The debate will be available in Spanish and closed captioned.

When: Wednesday, Sept. 17 from 6-7:30 p.m. (PDT).

Where: On the campus of California State University, Sacramento.

Criteria: On Wednesday, Aug. 13, the Secretary of State announced the certification of 135 gubernatorial candidates to appear on the Oct. 7 ballot. Because producing a debate featuring all of the certified candidates is unrealistic, the California Broadcasters Association will recommend inviting candidates who have a reasonable chance of winning. Any candidate receiving at least 10 percent support in the Field Poll, the Public Policy Institute of California poll or the Los Angeles Times poll prior to Sept. 5 will be invited to participate in the statewide debate. If a total of six candidates do not meet this criteria, an independent poll conducted by the California State University will survey undecided voters to determine which of the remaining candidates – those who polled between 5 and 10 percent – are preferred to participate in the debate. Qualifying candidates will be announced by the California Broadcasters Association on Sept. 8.

Format: For this election cycle, the California Broadcasters Association will break the pattern of the past to introduce a new format and structure for the special election debate – one that will forgo the traditional podium debate scenario and present viewers with a “conversational give and take” roundtable environment. The debate will be composed of six candidates and one moderator.

The California Broadcasters Association will also offer a new process for the selection of questions to be answered by the candidates participating in the debate. California voters will have the opportunity to submit public policy questions on postcards to: California Decides 2003, 915 L Street #C440, Sacramento, CA 95814. Voters whose questions are selected will be videotaped in their hometown prior to the debate with the questions being featured during the live debate. The selected questions will be provided to the candidates and the public in advance to maximize interest.


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California State University, Sacramento • Public Affairs
6000 J Street • Sacramento, CA 95819-6026 • (916) 278-6156 •