Jane Hamsher of FireDogLake, David Grant of the Collegiate Times, and I will be moderating the debate -- but the real yeoman's work from the beginning has been done by Ben Tribbett of the Virginia blog Not Larry Sabato, as well as the students and staff at Virginia Tech.
A few quick notes:
-- The debate begins at 7:30PM ET on Wednesday and we'll have live streaming video up on the Huffington Post, so please tune in. (If you miss the event live, it will be rebroadcast on C-SPAN.)
-- We want to ask your questions. There are three easy ways to send in questions that you'd like for us to ask the candidates -- via YouTube and Twitter (read the simple instructions HERE) or in the comments sections of several participating Virginia blogs (here, here, here, here, or here.) Please get your questions in ASAP, there's not much time left.
Beyond my personal involvement, though, there are three reasons why this event really excites me:
1) It's a different kind of debate: As one Virginia politico told me, Democratic primary debates in this state are typically hosted by a local newspaper, Chamber of Commerce, or trade group -- rarely, if ever, by progressive bloggers or online activists like Ben Tribbett. If we do our jobs correctly, that will mean a different set of questions being asked, and some new information from the candidates being expressed. And hopefully that gives Democratic primary voters in Virginia some important new information on which to base their votes.
2) Another sign that Virginia is changing: The intense interest in the Democratic primary of Virginia's gubernatorial race is yet another sign that the state is undergoing a major political realignment. Not everyone is pleased with the shift, obviously (particularly conservative Republicans). But from the recent Democratic dominance of the governor's chair, to the Senate election of Jim Webb, to Barack Obama's Virginia victory last November, there is big change afoot in the Old Dominion State.
3) New kinds of candidates: It goes without saying that Creigh Deeds, Terry McAuliffe and Brian Moran all deserve hearty thanks for agreeing to participate in this debate. Candidates often have strong incentives to take the safe path, and it wasn't long ago when political bloggers were viewed as nuisances (at best) by most elected officials. All of us involved in hosting the debate are very grateful.
We'll see you online (or in Blacksburg) on Wednesday, and remember to submit your questions!