It’s rare that a political candidate shows herself to be not up to the job in a debate negotiation. But Congresswoman Loretta Sanchez demonstrated just that in the back-and-forth over debates in her race for U.S. Senate against Attorney General Kamala Harris.

Sanchez badly trails Harris, so she needed as many debates as she could get in the race. So she accepted four debate invitations—which made sense. Harris countered with two—which made sense.

In that position, the worst Sanchez should have ended up with were the two debates accepted by Harris. Sanchez’s natural counter would have been to accept the two debates Harris had accepted—and counter by accepting debate proposals from media or organizations that Harris might feel some pressure to attend.

But not Sanchez. She decided she didn’t want to do one of the Harris debates, in Sacramento (on the theory that it was too close to a debate before the first round of voting in June, so she rejected it. And she didn’t find an alternative that gave her leverage over Harris. The result: she ends up with just one debate, even when her opponent was willing to do two.

This would be puzzling, except that Sanchez’s behavior has been puzzling. She has been slow off the mark, slow to campaign, slow to advertise, slow to attack Harris, slow to try to win support from moderates and Republicans.

To bungle the debate negotiations represents a last straw. It’s basically disqualifying for a would-be U.S. Senator from California. That job is all about being a great negotiator, someone who can find leverage and exploit it in an institution that, numerically, is stacked against California.

Sanchez just flunked a test of negotiating competence; she’s not really a viable candidate. At this point, she might be wise to concede, drop out, and urge the state to rally around Harris.