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October 12, 2012 at 8:36 AM

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Who won the gubernatorial debate? Inslee or McKenna

I thought the questions asked by the panel of Washington state broadcasters in
Thursday's gubernatorial debate were very good. See the Times story here.

Too bad, the candidates sometimes chose not to answer.

The best question asked but not answered was posed by King 5's Jean Enerson, who asked Inslee, who has been a legislator, not a manager, what makes him qualified to run and manage a whole state? She also asked McKenna about how he would work with a Democratic-controlled Legislature. McKenna went first and talked about his work with Democrats getting a number of bills passed. Then Inslee went but continued in the vein of how he would be bipartisan.

Again, great questions across the spectrum of important Washington state issues, but I wish the panelists had the latittude to interject and steer the candidates back to the question that was asked, not the question they wanted to answer.

I still was looking for more explanation why Inslee is willing to undermine the idea of bipartisan legislators to change the property tax system to begin to answer the Supreme Court's mandate to fully fund education. Again, his criticism of McKenna's openness to a the so-called tax-swap proposal was inadequate and misleading to voters.

By the same token, Inslee is right to raise the issue about health care inflation as a major threat to education funding going forward. McKenna talks about increasing funding for education but "capping" other state spending. That plan is intriguing but I wish McKenna would talk more about health care savings.

The two meet again next Tuesday in another debate in Seattle.

So what do you think? Who won the debate? What questions do you feel were left unanswered?

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