The final debate between President Donald Trump and former Vice President Joe Biden on Thursday is the undercard for some.
For lovers of parliamentary procedure and fill-in executives, the main event is the debate between candidates for Washington lieutenant governor, U.S. Rep. Denny Heck and state Sen. Marko Liias, which will be televised statewide.
Heck and Liias, both Democrats, will debate Thursday evening at 8 p.m., immediately following the presidential debate. Unlike the gubernatorial debate, held earlier this month, this is not the only meeting of the two candidates. Heck and Liias have debated several times already, including last week.
Thursday’s debate, held by the Washington State Debate Coalition and TVW, will be socially distanced, held in three separate TV studios in Olympia. Each candidate will be in a separate studio, with a third studio for the four moderators.
Heck, who has represented the Olympia area in Congress for the last eight years, is stressing his long career and experience in government. Liias, who represents the Lynnwood area in the state Senate, is pushing himself as the more progressive choice who will bring “transformational changes.”
The lieutenant governor acts as governor when the governor is out of state and assumes the office if the governor dies or leaves office. The lieutenant governor also presides over the Senate, settling procedural disputes and breaking ties, and chairs the powerful Senate Rules Committee, which can kill any piece of legislation.
There is an outside chance that the winner could become governor as soon as next year, if both Gov. Jay Inslee and Biden win their races and Biden picks Inslee for a role in his administration, a choice that has been rumored. Inslee, however, has said he would decline such an offer.
The debate will be moderated by KING 5’s Jessica Janner Castro, KOMO’s Michelle Esteban, Northwest Public Broadcasting’s Scott A. Leadingham and TVW’s Mike McClanahan.
In Western Washington, it will be broadcast live on KCTS 9, KING 5, KOMO 4, Northwest Public Broadcasting, and TVW. It will also be live-streamed at seattletimes.com.