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Inslee and Bryant face off in first gubernatorial debate on Wednesday

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SEATTLE -- Gov. Jay Inslee and his GOP challenger, Bill Bryant, will debate on Wednesday afternoon in Spokane.

The gubernatorial debate, scheduled to start at 4 p.m. Wednesday, is sponsored by the Association of Washington Business and will air on KHQ and KNDO in Eastern Washington. KHQ.com and Spokesman.com will live stream the debate on their websites.

Here’s what to watch for:

How does Jay Inslee answer what are sure to be hard questions about his handling of the computer glitch that led to the early release of thousands of prisoners across Washington, as well as the staffing problems at Western State Hospital.

And when it comes to Bill Bryant, it’s almost inevitable that he will be asked about his recent disavowal of Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump.  Why is he now rejecting the GOP standard-bearer, and why did he wait until just a few months before the election.

Bryant is clearly the underdog here, down by 12 percentage points in this week’s independent Elway poll.  This debate and the ones that follow are his best chance to change the dynamic in his uphill battle to unseat Inslee.