Nope, not the Presidential race -- much as that promises to be a laugh a minute, come Thursday night* -- it's the first debate in the three-way Indiana Gubernatorial race.
In more normal times, the election would be between calm, competent incumbent Eric Holcomb and a couple of goobers filling their party's slots on the ticket with no hope of winning. Indiana voters like quiet, low-key Governors and generally reward them with re-election.
These are not normal times. Governor Holcomb has managed Indiana's response to the pandemic with careful moderation, generally preferring strong recommendation over mandates until circumstances require the latter and even then, enforcement has focused on voluntary compliance rather than draconian measures.
The Governor's approach has been criticized from both sides -- the more strident conservatives fuming that he has gone too far in requiring masks, closing nonessential businesses and limiting gatherings, while the most worried liberals think he never went far enough. And each of those groups has their guy: Libertarian Donald Rainwater is a staunch opponent of mask mandates and group size restrictions (and, it appears, vaccination), while Democrat (and physician) Woodrow Myers is of the opinion Indiana's state government hasn't done nearly enough to control the spread of COVID-19.
At the very least, Rainwater may be a position to act as a "spoiler" in the election and materially improve the election prospects of Dr. Myers. Depending on how many Republicans are willing to split their ballot (and for that matter, how many Democrats are okay with the restrictions we have but don't want more), it could be a close three-way race.
The debate will take place with the moderator and all three candidates isolated from one another. There was some discussion of testing them beforehand, but isolation moots the need and avoids any uncertainty in the results. The format will be challenging -- and considering the sharp divisions among them, it may be one of the more interesting debates of this election season.
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