Candidates to Replace Retiring Sen. Barbara Boxer to Debate in San Diego

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California Attorney General Kamala Harris, left, speaks at the Women in the World Summit on April 23, 2015, in New York City. U.S. Rep. Loretta Sanchez attends Latino In America at Occidental College on Oct.15, 2015. (Credit: left, Andrew Toth/Getty Images; right, Tommaso Boddi/Getty Images for INGENUITY)

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Tonight’s U.S. Senate debate at San Diego State provides the last televised chance for the five top candidates to win over California voters or rip apart their rivals before the June 7 primary election.

And the candidates will have to be quick about it. The debate, which will be the second of just two held in this largely overlooked contest, lasts just an hour. There will be scant time to deliberate the intricacies of California’s water problems or discuss how to fix the nation’s immigration system.

The 7 p.m. event is sponsored by KPBS Public Broadcasting and will be aired by public radio and public television stations around the state, including KCET-TV Channel 28 and KPCC-FM (89.3) radio in Los Angeles. The debate will be live-streamed at and the Los Angeles Times will cover it live on the Essential Politics news feed.

There are 34 candidates seeking the seat. But on stage will be the top two Democrats in the race, state Atty. Gen. Kamala Harris and Rep. Loretta Sanchez of Orange. The three Republicans appearing are Tom Del Beccaro and George “Duf” Sundheim — both former chairmen of the California Republican Party — and Silicon Valley software millionaire Ron Unz. This group registers best in public opinion polls. The most recent USC Dornsife/Los Angeles Times poll found 32% of voters undecided.

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