Analysis: Pyrrhic victory for Schmookler on debate schedule

The good news for Sixth District Democratic Party nominee Andy Schmookler: He got his debate schedule with Republican incumbent Bob Goodlatte.

The bad news: It’s likely that almost nobody, relatively speaking, will actually see the debates.

The candidates will debate three times in a four-day period this month – Saturday, Oct. 13, at 1:30 p.m. at Breckinridge Middle School in Roanoke, Monday, Oct. 15, at 10:30 a.m. at Turner Ashby High School in Bridgewater, and Tuesday, Oct. 16, at 7:30 p.m. at Liberty University in Lynchburg.

There are no plans to televise any of the debates, meaning those who aren’t able to attend, i.e. the vast majority of Sixth District voters, will have to rely on print, online and TV-news coverage to learn anything about what goes down.

Schmookler, in a statement on the news that the debates had been scheduled, pleaded with TV stations in the district to step up to provide live-event coverage of at least one of the debates.

“Not everyone who is interested will be able to attend these events. Having these debates broadcast would therefore be a public service,” Schmookler said in the statement. “We are hopeful that the television stations in the several areas will choose to perform this public service so that as many voters as possible will be able to assess the candidates, to weigh the competing arguments, and to render a more informed judgment.”

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