Governor Scott Walker, Mary Burke gear up for their first debate, so what will they focus on?

EAU CLAIRE (WITI) -- Governor Scott Walker and Democratic candidate for governor Mary Burke are getting ready for their first debate -- set for Friday night, October 10th in Eau Claire.

When Governor Walker and Mary Burke share the stage on Friday night in their first debate ahead of the November 4th election, Governor Walker says he plans to focus on his vision for the next four years.

Mary Burke says she sees the debate as a chance for voters to get to know her, and the differences between her and her opponent.

Statewide polls have told us for months the race for governor is tight. A political science professor from St. Norbert College says both sides will bring a different strategy Friday night.

"In a debate like this, I think that the incumbent in office, Scott Walker, has probably the most to lose, and Mary Burke has likely the most to gain," Charles Jacobs, an Associate Professor of Political Science at St. Norbert College said.

Jacobs says that's because Burke is unfamiliar to many voters, but the public had more than three years to get to know Walker.

"He's going to let probably Burke be more aggressive," Jacobs said.

After a campaign event in Appleton, Governor Walker explained his strategy.

"I'm going to spend an hour trying to talk to the people of the state of Wisconsin -- not really worrying about getting in any attacks on my opponent as much as just laying out the very positive vision we have, and when appropriate, correcting the record," Governor Walker said.

Burke explained her approach to the debate in a conference call.

"My goal in the debate is just for folks to get to know me and my plans for leading Wisconsin forward, and if I've been able to communicate that effectively, that will be for me, a win," Burke said.

Jacobs describes the overall election cycle as mild. However, he says the debate may not be so mild, as Burke works to differentiate herself from the governor.

"She needs to be able to articulate very clearly what her plan is going to be economically, and in some of the policies that I think have really become flashpoints for the public, so education," Jacobs said.

Journalists in western Wisconsin will ask the candidates questions. They will likely cover a variety of topics.

Friday's debate will be moderated by Jill Geisler, a veteran broadcast journalist from the Milwaukee area.