RALEIGH, N.C. — The great debate over the debates is over.
Democratic Gov. Mike Easley and Republican challenger Patrick Ballantine have agreed to debate each other twice before the Nov. 2 election.
Easley and Ballantine will face each other Monday, Oct. 4, in a one-hour, education-only debate organized in part by the Public School Forum of North Carolina. The 11 a.m. debate at the SAS auditorium in Cary will air live on cable. It will air at 5 p.m. Oct. 10 on WRAL-TV, and it will replay several times on the WRAL NewsChannel.
The education forum will be moderated by Public School Forum President John Dornan. It will include about 30 minutes of questions from Dornan and 30 minutes of questions from members of statewide business and education groups.
The candidates have agreed to a WRAL-produced debate on Friday, Oct. 15. The format for that debate is a "free-flowing discussion covering a wide range of issues," said WRAL News Director John Harris. Harris helped facilitate negotiations between the two campaigns.
WRAL anchor and reporter David Crabtree will moderate the second debate. Crabtree will pose questions, allow responses and moderate exchanges between the candidates, Harris said.
The second debate will air from 7 to 8 p.m. Oct. 15 on WRAL. The station also will make the debate available for broadcast on other media outlets.
The WRAL debate will be recorded earlier in the day. The campaigns could not agree on a time that would allow the station to broadcast the debate live.
Wednesday's debate agreement follows a week of negotiations. Ballantine withdrew last week from the education debate because he also wanted to debate Easley on a range of issues.