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Rep. Dan Lungren, R-Gold River, and Elk Grove Democrat Ami Bera have agreed to debate later this month.

The Sept. 25 debate, sponsored by The Sacramento Bee, News10 and Capital Public Radio, is the first for the 7th Congressional District rivals, who also went head to head on the 2010 ballot.

The debate, to be held at News10's Sacramento studios, will stream live on and the other sponsors' sites at 3 p.m. on Sept. 25. It will air the following day on News10 and Capital Public Radio. News10 Political Editor John Myers, Bee Capitol Bureau Chief Dan Smith and Capital Public Radio senior reporter Marianne Russ will serve as panelists for the debate, which will include reader-submitted queries and questions posed by the candidates themselves.

A close registration split in the eastern Sacramento County district and the expectation of heavy spending by both candidates and outside groups has made it one of the most competitive and closely watched congressional contests in the country this year.

"That's why this is such an important election for us locally," Bee's Publisher and President Cheryl Dell said in a statement. "The newly redrawn district includes so much of our readership area that we feel it is important for voters to hear from the candidates themselves on the issues that matter in the region."

"I look forward to the opportunity to discuss the many critical issues facing our region and nation," Lungren said in a statement. "It's important for voters to see and hear that they have clear choices in this election."

In his statement, Bera said the debate "will be about the values and leadership that are missing in Congress. I am running because fixing the broken system in Washington, D.C., requires real leadership that puts the people's interests first."


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