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Alex Trebek will moderate Pa. gubernatorial debate

March 15, 2018 GMT

“I’m sorry, Governor, but you forgot to phrase your answer as a question,” probably won’t be something voters hear at the PA Chamber of Business and Industry’s gubernatorial debate, despite the organization’s Tuesday announcement that it would be moderated by Alex Trebek.

Trebek, longtime host of TV quiz show “Jeopardy,” will headline the chamber’s 34th annual dinner on Oct. 1.

Organizers say that since 2002 the dinner has included a 45-minute debate as part of the evening’s program.

“His background hosting one of America’s most beloved television quiz shows make him uniquely qualified to moderate what is sure to be a lively and informative gubernatorial debate,” chamber President and CEO Gene Barr said in a release.

The dinner will take place at the Hershey Lodge, in Hershey, and will be emceed for the 11th consecutive year by Dennis Owens, news anchor for the local ABC news station.

In the past, the long-time television host has expressed interest in hosting political debates and sponsors a lecture series at the University of Ottawa that promotes civil discourse.

“Unlike some of the other moderators — I’m not going to disparage them — but I have a different approach,” Trebek told The Hill in 2013. “I would not let the politicians get away with standard responses. I would try to pin them down, even though I might look bad doing it.”

All of the major party candidates for the state’s highest office will be invited, including Democrat Gov. Tom Wolf and the winner of the Republican primary ticket, which currently includes attorney Laura Ellsworth, businessman Paul Mango and state Sen. Scott Wagner.

In addition to serving as moderator, Trebek also will be the dinner’s keynote speaker and is expected to discuss his 34-year career on “Jeopardy.” That career, spanning more than 7,500 episodes, won Trebek the Guinness Book of World Records award for “Most game show episodes hosted by the same presenter.”

Matthew Medsger is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach him at 724-226-4675, mmedsger@tribweb.com or via Twitter @matthew_medsger.