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KNOXVILLE — Gubernatorial candidates Bill Haslam and Mike McWherter will debate on Thursday, Oct. 7, at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville.

Sponsored by WBIR, the News Sentinel and the University of Tennessee and its Howard H. Baker Jr. Center for Public Policy, the debate begins at 8 p.m. in the Cox Auditorium in the Alumni Memorial Building on the UT Knoxville campus. Doors will open at 7 p.m.

The debate is free and open to the public, but seating is limited and available on a first-come, first-served basis. For media credentialing information, contact Amy Blakely at

Free parking will be available in Staff Lot 9 on Phillip Fulmer Way, across the street from the building.

During this debate, the candidates will face questions from a panel featuring Hallerin Hilton Hill, radio talk show host on News/Talk 98.7 WOKI and television talk show host of “Anything is Possible” on WBIR-TV; Tom Humphrey, Nashville bureau chief for the Knoxville News Sentinel and author of the blog, “Humphrey on the Hill;” and Jodi Rightler, a UT doctoral student in journalism and electronic media. WBIR anchors John Becker and Robin Wilhoit will emcee the debate and provide the candidates with some questions solicited from viewers.

In order to ensure maximum debate time between candidates, audience members should not applaud, speak or otherwise participate in the debate by any means other than silent observation. Audience members also are advised not to wear campaign T-shirts, buttons or hats, or bring signs, campaign materials or noisemakers to show support for either candidate. Attendees failing to comply with these rules will not be permitted to enter the auditorium. Security will escort disruptive audience members out of the theater immediately.

As the debate will be broadcast live on WBIR, video and flash photography will not be permitted. The debate also can be viewed on the following local channels: Comcast 9, 21 and 432; Knology 9 and 903; DirecTV 10; and campus television 9. The debate also will air on WRCB in Chattanooga, WCYB in the Tri-Cities, WTVF in Nashville, WMC in Memphis, WBBJ in Jackson and on

The first debate was held Sept. 14 in Cookeville; the third gubernatorial debate, on Saturday, Oct. 9, in Memphis, is being sponsored by WREG, the Memphis Commercial Appeal and MPACT Memphis.

The election will take place on Nov. 2, and the two-week early voting period begins Oct. 13. McWherter, the Democratic Party nominee, is a businessman; Haslam, the Republican nominee, is the mayor of Knoxville.

If you have a question you would like the candidates to answer, send it to

C O N T A C T :

Amy Blakely (865-974-5034,