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California and the West

4 Gubernatorial Candidates Agree to First Face-Off

April 22, 1998

The four major candidates for California governor agreed Tuesday to their first campaign debate, a bipartisan forum to be hosted May 13 by the Los Angeles Times.

The morning event, to be held at the Times' downtown Harry Chandler Auditorium, will be furnished to radio and television stations for broadcast statewide.

The 90-minute forum will mark the first time the three major contenders for the Democratic nomination--businessman Al Checchi, Lt. Gov. Gray Davis and Torrance Rep. Jane Harman--have shared a stage.

State Atty. Gen. Dan Lungren, the presumptive Republican nominee, will also participate, reflecting the change in California's new primary voting system in which all candidates will appear on the same ballot June 2.

"Campaign speeches, ads and community appearances all have their place," said Mark Willes, publisher of The Times. "But we think it is critical for voters to know everything the candidates say, exactly as they say it, at an event that is tightly focused on the issues."

An audience of roughly 300 invited guests--including mayors, educators and business leaders from around the state--will attend the forum and have an opportunity to question the candidates. The event will be moderated by Janet Clayton, editor of The Times' editorial pages, and political columnist George Skelton, who will also pose questions.

The Times will publish a special report based on the forum to be distributed to the paper's readers as well as to selected leaders across California. The report will also be posted on the Times' World Wide Web site at: http://www.latimes.com

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