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KPBS Sets 52nd Congressional Debate For Wednesday, March 14

Listen live on KPBS 89.5 FM at 12 p.m. or watch rebroadcast on KPBS TV at 6 p.m.

KPBS has confirmed a live debate with the top candidates running for U.S. Congress’ 52nd District for Wednesday, March 14th at noon. The one-hour studio debate will air live on KPBS 89.5 FM and will be rebroadcast on KPBS-TV at 6pm that evening.

In an effort to conduct a discussion that allows for time to delve deep on the issues, KPBS has decided to limit the number of participants in this debate. KPBS has set the threshold at 10 percent favorability or above to join the broadcast debate. KPBS is using a poll conducted by the independent national polling company SurveyUSA, commissioned by KPBS television partner KGTV Channel 10.

A new poll released today from SurveyUSA conducted March 9 through March 11, 2012 showed only three candidates reaching 10 percent favorability or more (including the margin of error +/- 4.5 percent). The candidates reaching that threshold and participating in the debate are: incumbent Brian Bilbray, Scott Peters, and Lori Saldana.


“By focusing the debate on the top candidates, we will provide our TV and radio audience with a more coherent forum, with enough time for several questions per candidate,” said Suzanne Marmion, KPBS director of news and editorial strategy. “This format will give voters more information on the issues than would be possible on a stage filled with seven candidates.”

The debates are just one part of the extensive election coverage KPBS is offering. More information on all candidates will be available at, and as the field of candidates changes over the course of the season, KPBS will provide ongoing coverage on radio, television and the web.

“Several candidates have expressed their frustration with not being included in the debate,” said Marmion. “We sincerely appreciate their interest in participating in the debate, however, in order to have the conversation reach the level of depth on the issues that our audience expects from KPBS, we must limit the number of candidate participants. Using the results of a poll conducted independently by a non-partisan pollster is the most objective criteria.”

KPBS is a public service of San Diego State University, serving the region with TV, Radio, and Internet content that educates, inspires, entertains, and advances civic involvement.

Corrected: January 6, 2023 at 1:27 PM PST
Listen Live on KPBS 89.5 FM or Watch Rebroadcast on KPBS-TV at 6 p.m.