At least 3 governor debates planned |

At least 3 governor debates planned

RENO (AP) – Democratic gubernatorial candidate Dina Titus has challenged Republican opponent Jim Gibbons to six debates, and Gibbons swiftly agreed to three debates.

Gibbons, a five-term congressman, wants debates in Reno, Las Vegas and a rural town, said spokesman Robert Uithoven.

“We will be working on this very soon, but we have to balance it out with Jim’s congressional schedule,” Uithoven told the Reno Gazette-Journal.

Titus thinks it would be better to have six debates, about two weeks apart in the 12-week campaign leading up to the November general election, spokeswoman Hilarie Grey said.

“It would be nice to have them as a regular part of the campaign, and by having six, we could bring debates to areas other than the ones that usually get them,” Grey said.

Gibbons was criticized by opponents in Tuesday’s primary election, state Sen. Bob Beers and Lt. Gov. Lorraine Hunt, for not debating them early in the campaign.

Gibbons agreed to two debates, both in the final two weeks of the campaign after early voting had begun.

Titus and her primary opponent, Henderson Mayor Jim Gibson, had four debates, including two during the final two weeks of the August campaign. No dates or venues have been proposed for the debates, Grey said.

“The campaigns need to sit down with each other,” Grey said. “We will need to have that conversation with them and not go through the media.”

Political consultants said it would not benefit Gibbons to debate six times because they consider him the favorite. Nevada governor candidates usually have three debates, they said.

“You have to debate,” said Pete Ernaut, a Republican and former chief of staff to Gov. Kenny Guinn. “But obviously, if you are the front-runner … you always want to limit the chances you give to the person in second place to get you one on one. That is just basic strategy.”

David Damore, a Democrat and political science professor at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, agreed.

“The fewer the debates, the better off he is,” Damore said. “Those (debates) are not his strength as a candidate, and it also raises the chances of him saying something stupid.”

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