At this point, the governor's race seems to be too close to call, with most polls showing Democratic candidate Jerry Brown slightly ahead of Republican Meg Whitman.
After having butted heads over jobs, the budget and immigration in two previous debates, Whitman and Brown now find themselves in a somewhat-freeform matchup moderated by NBC's veteran anchor Tom Brokaw.
Both Whitman and Brown recently have benn dogged by scandals that for the moment have pushed matters of governing California to the backburner, some say. Voters, while slightly amused, deserve better.
If California voters are in any luck, tonight's final debate will reveal once and for all which candidate has the greatest potential to steer the Golden State back to prosperity. Brokaw, for his part, said he should have a "couple surprises tonight, slightly different takes on these California-related issues."
And for some commentary to supplement Brokaw's questioning, NPR affiliate KQED's political reporter John Myers will also be live tweeting the debate.