And we’re off.
The general election for U.S. Senate officially kicked off Wednesday morning with Democrat Tim Kaine announcing that he would agree to eight broadcast debates.
The debates, which will be aired on TV and radio across the state, will be held in geographically diverse regions of the state and are sponsored by a cross-section of organizations.
Kaine announced his debate commitments via news release at 7:20 a.m., saying he wanted to work with his rival, Republican George Allen, to offer Virginians an opportunity to hear from the two men. But his campaign had yet to contact Allen’s campaign. That came nearly two hours later, just before 9 a.m.
“The stakes in this election are extremely high and all Virginians deserve an opportunity to hear directly from the candidates on issues of regional, state and national importance,” Kaine spokeswoman Brandi Hoffine said. “Our priority is to participate in enough broadcast debates so that all Virginians get a chance to compare the candidates side-by-side. We look forward to working with George Allen’s campaign to make sure that happens.”
Allen, who handily won his primary Tuesday, has not announced which debates he will participate in. “George Allen looks forward to engaging in vigorous debates with Tim Kaine on their very different visions for America’s future,” Allen spokeswoman Katie Wright said. “We anticipate commitments to a number of debates to be announced in the coming weeks.”
Kaine and Allen are expected to participate in the Virginia Bar Association’s traditional July debate at the Homestead resort, though that probably will not be televised.
Find the list of Kaine’s debates below:
Radio One 2012 Senatorial Forum: Richmond, late August (date and venue TBD). Broadcast on Radio One stations (TV broadcast TBD).
WJLA-TV, POLITICO & Virginia FREE: Arlington Campus, George Mason University. Sept. 14. Broadcast live on WJLA in D.C., and available to ABC affiliates throughout Virginia.
Fairfax County Chamber of Commerce & NBC4: Capital One Tysons Corner Complex, McLean. Sept. 20. Broadcast live on NBC 4 in DC, and rebroadcast on Sunday, September 23.
Randolph-Macon College, The Richmond Times Dispatch & the Virginia Chamber of Commerce: Randolph-Macon College, Ashland. October date TBD. Broadcast on media partners WWBT NBC-12 and WCVE Community Ideas Stations in Richmond.
WSLS-TV and Virginia Tech: Virginia Tech campus, Blacksburg. October date TBD. Broadcast live on WSLS-TV and made available to other television stations statewide.
Hampton Roads Chamber of Commerce: Norfolk, Oct. 18 or 19 (TBD). Broadcast live on WVEC-TV (ABC affiliate) and to be rebroadcast at a later date TBD.
League of Women Voters of Virginia & AARP Virginia: WCVE Studios, Midlothian. Oct. 8. Broadcast on CBS-6 in Richmond and WCVE-TV (PBS).
Virginia State Conference NAACP: Fredericksburg, Oct. 26. Broadcast on WWBT NBC-12 in Richmond.
This story has been updated.