On Friday August 17 Almanac hosted the first broadcast gubernatorial debate featuring the winners of the August Primary. Republican Jeff Johnson and Democrat Tim Walz squared off for an informal conversation with Almanac hosts Eric Eskola and Cathy Wurzer. The hour featured a wide range of topics including healthcare, transportation, immigration and guns.

The debate is part of our project “In It Together” where we bring you thoughtful conversations about the challenges that face all Minnesotans this election year.

Almanac takes pride in its political debate coverage. TPT’s signature Friday night public affairs series introduced the no-stopwatch let’s just sit down and talk style of political debate to Minnesota back in 1986 when Governor Rudy Perpich met up with challenger Cal Ludeman on the Almanac set. In the years since then Almanac has brought more than 100 debates to statewide audiences featuring candidates for governor, senator and congress.

One special highlight in Almanac’s debate history came in 1990 when Senate candidates Paul Wellstone and Rudy Boschwitz met in person to debate only once during the campaign and it was on the Almanac set.

Almanac always angles to have the first and last televised debates of each campaign season. Pulling off the first post-primary broadcast debate is a rare accomplishment. The last time the Almanac team managed to do that was back in 2010 when Mark Dayton, Tom Emmer and Tom Horner sat down on the Almanac couch.

We’ve managed to wrangle a final Friday debate for more than two decades now. This year’s final Friday is November 2nd t 7 pm. Make sure you tune in Almanac that evening.