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Pacific to host televised Democratic debate Sunday

Candid cameras - Four U.S. Senate hopefuls vying for incumbent Sen. Gordon Smith's seat will meet on the university's Forest Grove campus

Less than a week after the eyes of the nation turned to Pennsylvania to see the Democratic presidential candidates duke it out, the focus of many Oregon Democrats will be on Forest Grove this Sunday afternoon, April 27.

That's when Pacific University, KATU-TV and the Oregon League of Minority Voters will hold a live, televised debate between four Democrats seeking their party's nomination to run for the U.S. Senate.

One of the four hopefuls will earn the right to run against incumbent Sen. Gordon Smith in November.

'Pacific is thrilled to sponsor this important debate as part of our ongoing commitment to promoting a lively engagement with public affairs,' said Bob Van Dyk, professor and chair of the university's Politics and Government Department.

The debate, to be moderated by KATU anchor Steve Dunn, will feature four candidates:

• David Loera, a mental health counselor and immigration consultant from Salem;

• Jeff Merkley, a former analyst for the Congressional Budget office and Speaker of the Oregon House;

• Candy Neville, a real estate broker from Eugene; and

• Steve Novick, a former federal prosecutor and Oregon taxpayer advocate.

The debate will take place in the Taylor-Meade Performing Arts Center in McCready Hall on Pacific's Forest Grove campus.

Doors open at 3 p.m. for ticketed general admission seating. Because the debate will be broadcast live, the doors will close promptly at 3:50 p.m. The debate starts at 4 p.m.

Tickets are free but must be ordered in advance through the OLMV at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or 503-289-7520. There will not be any tickets available at the door.