Washington Attorney General and Republican gubernatorial candidate Rob McKenna has an early lead against Democratic opponent Congressman Jay Inslee, but the McKenna campaign has no intention of sitting on an advantage by ducking debates or playing it safe.

Earlier Monday, the Inslee campaign made public its proposal for a relatively modest schedule of six debates, a pitch that also included the Democrat’s wish list concerning the geographic distribution of the face-offs and the issue themes of half of the designed events.

This afternoon, McKenna campaign manager Randy Pepple told NW Daily Marker by email that McKenna anticipates a robust debate schedule and invited Inslee to begin joining a conversation on the issues that he says McKenna has been having with voters for months.

“Rob McKenna looks forward to participating in debates across Washington, and has already started sharing his vision for leading the state with the release last month of his New Direction for Washington plan,” Pepple said. “Congressman Inslee could join the debate at any time by actually releasing a plan that tells the voters how his 15 years in Congress has prepared him to be Governor.”

Pepple continued, suggesting that Inslee’s failure to make public his recent responses to the candidate survey of the state’s teacher union indicates that a head-to-head to discussion between candidates is premature and that Inslee should first explain the details of his proposals for achieving key policy objectives.

“He could even start by releasing the questionnaire he filled out for the Washington Education Association last week, so people can see what public education reforms he has in mind for our schools, and could compare that to the education plan on Rob McKenna’s website.”

Pepple expressed curiosity about why Inslee would want to put a cap on the amount of structured interaction between candidates, noting that McKenna has already signed on to two debates and is enthusiastic about agreeing to more between now and Election Day.

“Why would candidates for Governor limit themselves on the number and location of debates?” Pepple said. “The McKenna campaign has already agreed to debates with two organizations, and in each case we told them they should contact Congressman Inslee’s campaign to secure his commitment.”

“Rob McKenna will agree to more debates than Congressman Inslee will by the time this campaign is over, as Rob welcomes the opportunity to share his ideas and plans with the people of the Washington State.”