Countdown to the 36th showdown

We’re now just hours away from watching Rep. Mary Bono Mack and Democratic challenger Raul Ruiz debate domestic and foreign policies in their first and only televised debate.

It starts at 7 p.m. and is co-sponsored and moderated by The Desert Sun and KMIR 6. It will be broadcast live on the NBC affiliate and its sister station, KPSE My13, as well as streamed live on and

If you don’t want to watch it alone, both political parties are planning watch parties:

– Republicans will be gathering at the R Bar located inside Rancho Las Palmas Resort and Spa.

– Democrats are meeting at the Indian Canyons Golf Resort in Palm Springs. A $5 donation is requested at the door.

You can also follow the action via Twitter with the hashtag #CVelection.

The last time that Bono Mack, a Palm Springs Republican, debated was in 2010 when she took on then-challenger Palm Springs Mayor Steve Pougnet.

Before that, she hadn’t debated since 2002.

In advance of this year’s debate, a number of Desert Sun readers submitted questions they’d like to see the candidates tackle. While we won’t be able to get to all of them in the hour-long debate, we certainly appreciate all the ideas as they helped us shape the final rundown.