Massachusetts Gubernatorial debate Oct. 17 at UMass Dartmouth

DARTMOUTH — The two major party nominees for governor, Republican Charlie Baker and Democrat Martha Coakley, have agreed to a debate from 4 to 5 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 17, at the UMD auditorium.

Craig Dutra, a member of the SouthCoast Alliance which organized the event, said it was not a question of if a debate would happen but when, as scheduling was difficult.

Dutra worked on behalf of the Alliance, a group of media outlets, business institutions, civic organizations, Bristol Community College and UMass Dartmouth. The alliance has been arranging these debates for eight years, he said.

The alliance will decide what topics and questions will be discussed at the event. He said that prepared questions will be posed by the moderator. The candidates will know the topics, but not the specific questions, said Dutra, president of the Community Foundation of Southeastern Massachusetts.

«Several will be on the area economy, quality of life, education,» Dutra said. «We were waiting to get candidates firm before we reveal what the topics are going to be.»

The candidates will have a 90-second response followed by a 60-second rebuttal, Dutra said.

The debate still needs a moderator. Dutra said the original moderator planned has a scheduling conflict and cannot attend. An alternate has been chosen and will be announced upon acceptance of the assignment.

Dutra said it is not certain whether or when the debate will be broadcast. He said that it will certainly be videotaped for delayed broadcast, probably on the cable networks.

«This is a decision that the media outlets will be deciding over the next week or so,» Dutra said.

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