Is it five debates or three?

The debate over debates in the governor’s campaign continued this week, with the Republican nominee, Knute Buehler, R-Bend, announcing Wednesday he had accepted five invitations to debate with the Democratic incumbent, Gov. Kate Brown. The first event is the Oregon Newspaper Publishers Association conclave at the Brasada Ranch resort, located between Bend and Powell Butte.

But stop the presses. Brown’s campaign said later Wednesday that she had only agreed to three debates — and the Bend-area one was not on the list.

Both campaigns agreed their candidates will face off in these debates:

• At KOBI-NBC TV in Medford on Oct. 4

• At KGW-NBC TV in Portland the week of Oct. 8

• At a debate sponsored by Children First for Oregon to be held in late September or early October at a location to be determined in the Portland area.

Buehler has also accepted debate invitations at ONPA on July 20 and another at KATU-ABC TV in conjunction with Portland State University in Portland on Oct. 15.

Buehler is challenging Brown to a total of at least 10 debates or joint appearances, including the five he has accepted.

“We hope Gov. Brown will actually begin accepting debate invitations, so that discussions over format details and participation by other candidates can get underway with event organizers,” said Buehler campaign manager Rebecca Tweed.

Brown’s campaign has criticized Buehler’s zeal for debates against the governor given that his primary opponents complained that Buehler only took part in one debate against them.

“We are not scheduling debates outside of the three we proposed,” said Brown spokesman Christian Gaston. “We also will attend the Portland Tribune and Willamette Week editorial endorsement interviews, and I expect Buehler will attend those.”

Stay tuned.

IPO to get governor candidate name

The Independent Party of Oregon is expected to officially know who its nominee for governor will be by 5 p.m. on Thursday, when the Secretary of State releases the names of write-in candidates from the May 15 primary.

Write-ins led the balloting on May 15, with Patrick Starnes of Brownsville — whose name was on the ballot — placing second. Both Brown and Buehler campaigned for Independent Party primary voters to write in their names on the ballot.

Though the Independent Party is officially one of the three “major” parties that automatically qualify for the ballot, candidates in the other two major parties often seek their nomination to give them a second line on the general election ballot. For example, Jack Zika, the Republican nominee for the 53rd House District, also won the Independent Party nomination with a write-in campaign.

The Independent Party held an open primary, allowing non-affiliated voters to cast ballots in their party’s race. The Democrat and Republican primaries were only open to registered party members.

Starnes is campaigning on a platform of getting “big money” out of politics and says he has the votes to beat any single write-in candidate.

One year less of school

Students in Oregon receive a full school year less of education days between kindergarten and high school graduation than students in Washington state, according to a report by Portland television station KGW.

Washington State students receive an average of 15 more instructional days a year than their peers in Oregon, the station reported. Over 12 years, that amounts to 180 days — the national median number for a school year, according to National Center for Education Statistics. Those are days defined as when children are in the classroom receiving instruction.

Oregon has one of the lowest high school graduation rates in the country.

“I think there’s a correlation between graduation rates and not giving our students enough instruction time,” Kim Sordyl, a state school board member, told the station.

But other officials said the correlation was not proven and that other factors are involved in graduation performance.

— Reporter: 541-640-2750, gwarner@bendbulletin.com

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