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Mondale, Coleman to debate

Democrat Walter Mondale, left, and Republican Norm Coleman
Democrat Walter Mondale, left, and Republican Norm Coleman

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MINNEAPOLIS, Minnesota (CNN) -- Minnesota's Democratic and GOP Senate candidates have agreed to debate Monday, in the final hours of the campaign, both camps told CNN Saturday.

The race between Republican Norm Coleman and Democrat Walter Mondale may prove to be a key contest in determining which party will control the Senate.

The one-hour debate will commence at 10 a.m. (11 a.m. ET) at the Fitzgerald Theater in St. Paul and will be sponsored by Minnesota Public Radio and simulcast on KARE-TV. The Independent and Green party candidates will not participate.

Gary Eichten, a host for Minnesota Public Radio, and KARE Anchor Paul Magers will moderate the debate.

The debate will begin without opening statements. Questions will come from the hosts and from the theater audience, which will include local media representatives. Some e-mailed questions may also be taken, campaign officials said.

At the end of the debate, each candidate will have 90 seconds in which to make a closing statement.

The venue, built as the Schubert Theater in 1910, is home to Garrison Keillor's Prairie Home Companion, a weekly program on National Public Radio. It has 996 seats, but campaign officials said it was possible that only the 300 seats on the main floor would be filled during the debate.

Mondale, who last served in public office as vice president under Jimmy Carter, entered the race last week after incumbent Democratic Sen. Paul Wellstone died in a plane crash along with his wife, daughter, three campaign staffers and two pilots.

--CNN Correspondents Frank Buckley and Bob Franken contributed to this report.

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