Current and past City Council presidents M. Lorena González and Bruce Harrell will face off in two debates this month as their campaigns to be Seattle’s next mayor hit the homestretch.
The debates will be held Thursday, Oct. 14, from 7 p.m. to 8 p.m. and Thursday, Oct. 28, from 7 p.m. to 8 p.m.
The first debate will focus on the economy and the second debate will focus on public health and safety.
Harrell, who was City Council president until he opted against seeking reelection in 2019, won the crowded August primary, with 34% of the vote, beating the second-place González, the current Council president, by less than 2 percentage points. Both candidates used publicly funded democracy vouchers in the primary election. But both have now been released from the campaign spending limits that typically come with democracy vouchers, as outside PAC money has poured into the race.
Fundraising by outside groups has eclipsed the dollars raised by the campaigns themselves.
A PAC supporting Harrell, called Bruce Harrell for Seattle’s future, has brought in nearly $1 million, mostly from real estate executives and other wealthy individuals. A PAC supporting González, Essential Workers for Lorena, has raised more than $900,000, mostly from unions.
Both debates will be held in person in the studios of KCTS 9. There will be no in-person audience. The debates will be broadcast on local television and radio and livestreamed on seattletimes.com and the websites of other media partners.
The debates are organized by the Washington State Debate Coalition and the Seattle City Club. Those interested can register for reminders and submit potential questions for the candidates at seattlecityclub.org/wsdc.
The first debate will be moderated by KOMO 4’s Mary Nam and will also feature a media panel of The Seattle Times’ Daniel Beekman , KUOW’s Amy Radil and KING 5’s Chris Daniels.
The second debate will be moderated by KIRO 7’s Essex Porter and will feature a media panel of Crosscut’s David Kroman, FOX 13’s Hana Kim and KIRO Radio’s Hanna Scott.
Ballots for the Nov. 2 general election will be mailed Oct. 13.