Kate Brown speaks in Portland in June 2016. Brown agreed to her first debate with Republican gubernatorial candidate Bud Pierce to be held in Bend.

Kate Brown speaks in Portland in June 2016. Brown agreed to her first debate with Republican gubernatorial candidate Bud Pierce to be held in Bend.

Conrad Wilson/OPB

Democratic Gov. Kate Brown has agreed to face her Republican opponent, Bud Pierce, in a public debate on Sept. 24.

The gubernatorial debate in Bend, Oregon, was announced Tuesday by the Society of Professional Journalists’ Oregon chapter, which is hosting the event. The hour-long discussion will focus entirely on issues facing Oregon’s rural communities.

It marks the first debate that Brown has agreed to so far ahead of the November election. She’s been facing public scrutiny in recent weeks for declining another debate slated for July 22, which Pierce has agreed to appear solo.

Brown and Pierce are vying to finish the last half of former Gov. John Kitzhaber’s four-year term that he vacated in February 2015 amid influence-peddling allegations involving his fiancé.