After some disagreement over terms, Democratic Gov. Jay Inslee and his Republican challenger Loren Culp have agreed to a televised debate on Oct. 7.
The debate will be broadcast live from 8 to 9 p.m., immediately following that evening’s Vice Presidential debate, according to the Washington State Debate Coalition (WSDC).
The candidates will participate in the debate from separate rooms at the Olympia headquarters of TVW, the state’s C-SPAN-like government affairs channel. It will be broadcast statewide by major TV outlets including KING, KOMO, KIRO, Q13 and KCTS, said Lincoln Vander Veen, a spokesman for the WSDC.
Culp, the police chief in Republic, Ferry County, had pushed for a debate in which the two men would face off in the same room, but socially distanced. His campaign did not immediately comment on the terms of the debate agreement announced Tuesday.
Inslee’s campaign welcomed the debate terms.
“We are in an unprecedented moment and to ensure a safe and responsible debate, the WSDC presented this format and our campaign agreed to it,” said Inslee campaign spokesman James Singer, in a text message.
Singer declined to comment on why Inslee resisted appearing in the same room with Culp, but Inslee has criticized his GOP opponent for hosting large rallies across the state in which few participants wear masks or abide by physical distancing guidelines.
Inslee participated in a virtual gubernatorial candidate forum Tuesday held by the Asian Pacific Islander Coalition of WA and Asian Counseling and Referral Service, answering a few questions. Culp was invited but did not participate, according to event organizers.
A debate between the candidates for Washington Lieutenant Governor – state Sen. Marko Liias and U.S. Rep. Denny Heck — both Democrats — will air from 8 to 9 p.m. on Oct. 22, after the third and final presidential debate, the WSDC announced.
The WSDC, founded by Seattle CityClub in 2016, is a nonpartisan coalition of media outlets and educational and other institutions which sponsors debates for major statewide political races, such as governor and U.S. Senate.