Debate set for Gavin Newsom and GOP gubernatorial challenger Brian Dahle. What to know

Gov. Gavin Newsom and state Sen. Brian Dahle, R-Bieber, will go head-to-head later this month in a gubernatorial debate hosted by KQED, the San Francisco radio station announced on Monday.

The debate, scheduled for 1 p.m. on Sunday, Oct. 23, is the only confirmed meeting of the two candidates. It will come a little over two weeks before Election Day.

The station reports that the debate will air live on KQED Public Radio 88.5, along with an online video stream. A recorded television broadcast will run at 6 p.m. on KQED 9. The station will make the recordings available to other television and radio stations.

Newsom, a Democrat, is running for re-election and is being challenged by Dahle, a Republican farmer from rural Lassen County.

The governor is expected to coast to a second term in office and has spent more time lobbing attacks at the Republican governors of Texas and Florida in recent months than campaigning for his own race here in California.

A recent poll by the UC Berkeley Institute of Governmental Studies found that Newsom was leading Dahle by more than 2 to 1.

Dahle, who struggles with name recognition among voters, offers a stark contrast to the Golden State’s Democratic incumbent.

The Republican state senator is opposed to COVID-19 vaccination mandates and increasing abortion access. He is running on a platform that favors suspending the state’s gas tax and boosting funding for local law enforcement agencies.

In a statement on Monday, Dahle said that “survey after survey shows Californians think the state is going in the wrong direction.”

“Californians deserve better,” he said, “and I appreciate KQED for giving voters the opportunity to hear from both candidates for governor, so they know there is an alternative to turn this state around.”