Who knows if it was the "empty chair" press release issued by the GOP challenger, but incumbent U.S. Senator Maria Cantwell has agreed to debate GOP challenger Michael Baumgartner Oct. 12. It will be aired on public television KCTS.  The exact format and framework has not yet been publicly announced, but many believe the agreement came about after Baumgartner released a statement Sept. 6 claiming an "empty chair" had agreed to debate him at the Spokane Republicans Breakfast Club.

The chair reference was sprung from Clint Eastwood's performance at the Republican National Convention in which he questioned an empty chair that was mean to signify President Obama. The empty chair debate was held in Spokane Sept. 7. Baumgartner was involved in a series of debates across the state against primary GOP candidate Dr. Art Coday. Coday has since shifted his support to Baumgartner for the November election.

Cantwell has previously been accused of dodging opponents. According to the Seattle Times, in 2000, Democratic primary challenger Deborah Senn had campaign ads that read in part, "Hello in there Maria."

We will keep you posted as more details of the debate are released. KCTS is part of the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, and will likely be carried on local Tri-Cities Public Television.