There has been a big development in the Democratic primary for Governor of Virginia as I’m hearing that all three candidates are going to be taking part in a debate to be held at Virginia Tech on April 29 at 7:30pm. A source involved in the preparations at Virginia Tech said the debate will be hosted by several national blogs including the Huffington Post and Fire Dog Lake, as well as Virginia’s Not Larry Sabato. Not only will these blogs have representatives selecting the questions, but the debate will be moderated by Ben Tribbett of Not Larry Sabato and Arianna Huffington (see update at bottom of post).
The debate will have a fairly standard format as it is scheduled to last 90 minutes with each candidate giving two minute long opening statements, followed by a question/answer section, and finally an opportunity for the candidates to give a closing statement. What makes this debate slightly different then the typical fair that we get, especially in a gubernatorial primary, is that all of the questions will be coming in from new media sources (twitter, youtube, and other similar programs) and the panel selecting the questions to be asked at the debate will also be made up of bloggers. Furthermore, I’m hearing that it will be webcast on the Huffington Post which means that people who cannot make it out to Virginia Tech will also be given an opportunity to watch the debate.
I’m looking forward to this event because it will give Virginians an opportunity to hear from the candidates about the important issues facing our Commonwealth. While that is obviously the most important aspect of the debate, I also think this event helps to illustrate that bloggers are actually playing an active role in the democratic process and truly value the opportunity to open up our political discussion. The plain and simple fact that the candidates agreed to the debate also shows that they realize the importance of the netroots community and the role that it plays in our political process.
UPDATE: I just received word that there will likely be someone from the Huffington Post helping to moderate the debate, but it won't necessarily be Arianna.