Allen, Kaine add three debates in Virginia Senate race

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Photo - Former Virginia Gov. Timothy M. Kaine, left, and former U.S. Sen. George Allen shake hands aftera debate in Hot Springs, Va. ( AP Photo)
Former Virginia Gov. Timothy M. Kaine, left, and former U.S. Sen. George Allen shake hands aftera debate in Hot Springs, Va. ( AP Photo)
Local,Virginia,Steve Contorno

There's an ongoing debate in Virginia's open U.S. Senate race over how many debates are enough, but for the time being, three more are in the works.

Republican George Allen agreed Wednesday to participate in three debates this fall, one in September and two in October. Democrat Tim Kaine previously accepted invitations to those events as well. The two former governors, both seasoned politicians, debated in front of the Virginia Bar Association.

"We are grateful to the debate hosts for their leadership in providing an opportunity for Virginians to hear directly from the U.S. Senate candidates," Allen campaign manager Mike Thomas said. "In these debates, Virginians will see a clear difference in George Allen's record of less government, lower taxes and more jobs versus Tim Kaine's record for more government, tax increases and fewer jobs in Virginia."

But Kaine has agreed to five other debates and has called on Allen to join him in what would be a total of 10 debates between the two. Kaine and Allen sparred last December in a debate held before they were named their parties nominees.

"We've accepted eight broadcast debates across Virginia, including these three," Kaine spokesman Brandi Hoffine said. "We're hopeful that there will be more so that as many Virginians as possible have the opportunity to hear directly from the candidates, but we're looking forward to these three."

Allen endured three debates during the Republican primary. Kaine ran unopposed.

The Fairfax County Chamber of Commerce will host a debate Sept. 20 in McLean. The Oct. 8 debate will be held in Richmond and the candidates will meet for a third, and perhaps final, time in Blacksburg on Oct. 18.

Kaine and Allen are running to replace retiring U.S. Sen. Jim Webb, D-Va., in one of the most closely watched Senate races of the year.

scontorno@washingtonexaminer.com

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