WA Secretary of State debate between Hobbs, Anderson canceled

Secretary of State Steve Hobbs’ campaign said he isn’t available to participate in a debate before election day.

SEATTLE — A debate between Secretary of State Steve Hobbs and challenger Julie Anderson has been canceled, and Sen. Patty Murray has yet to commit to a second debate against challenger Tiffany Smiley.

The Washington State Debate Coalition announced Thursday that it canceled the secretary of state debate planned for Oct. 18 after Hobbs’ campaign said it wasn’t available that day or any other day before the general election on Nov. 8. Hobbs’s campaign indicated he had a variety of official and campaign-related scheduling conflicts, according to the coalition.

“The WSDC is a firm believer in holding a widely-broadcast exchange between the top two candidates in as many consequential races as we can so voters can compare and contrast their positions on important topics,” said Alicia Crank, executive director of the Washington State Debate Coalition and Seattle City Club. “Holding the event with only one candidate present does not provide that opportunity.”

Hobbs told KING 5 that by the time the Coalition asked him about the debate, his schedule was already full.

Hobbs’ campaign pointed out that Hobbs has already participated in two debates with Anderson in July and August and is also planning two additional debates in Spokane on Oct. 23 and with the Seattle Channel on Oct. 26. Oct. 23 debate is organized by the League of Women Voters and The Spokesman-Review’s Northwest Passages speaker series.

Hobbs, a Democrat, was appointed to the secretary of state position last year and is trying to hang onto the last two years of former Republican Secretary of State Kim Wyman’s four-year term. Anderson currently serves as Pierce County auditor.

The coalition said Hobbs and Anderson were both invited to participate in a debate shortly after the primary election results were verified in August.

Anderson said in a statement that she was frustrated that voters wouldn’t have the benefit of the Oct. 18 debate, even though another one is planned for later in the month.

“It’s a shame that voters will have to wait, when most will have received their ballots by October 21 and many will have voted,” Anderson said.

Meanwhile, Murray’s campaign didn’t commit to a western Washington debate by Oct. 5, which was the date the debate coalition requested Murray confirm.

However, Murray’s campaign said they are in “active discussions with other stakeholders” to organize another debate in Seattle.

The coalition has planned an Oct. 25 debate at Seattle University between Murray and Smiley. KING 5 anchor Joyce Taylor is expected to be the lead moderator at that debate, and KING 5 plans to air that debate live.

The coalition said organizers remain in conversation with the Murray campaign in hopes that she will participate.

Tiffany Smiley released a statement:

“Senator Murray absolutely wants to participate in a second debate. Her campaign is in active discussions with other stakeholders to organize a second statewide debate in Seattle. We hope to announce another confirmed debate as soon as possible.”

Murray, a Democrat, is seeking her sixth term in Congress. Smiley, a Republican, co-founded and serves as president of Hope Unseen, a veterans advocacy organization.

Murray and Smiley are expected to participate in a debate at Gonzaga University in Spokane on Oct. 23, which is organized by the League of Women Voters and The Spokesman-Review’s Northwest Passages speaker series.

The debate coalition has confirmed three other debates that will be broadcast or live streamed on KING 5’s platforms:

Saturday, Oct. 15: 26th Legislative District debate between state Sen. Emily Randall and challenger Jesse L. Young at 3 pm in the Silverdale Center. Watch on king5.com and KING 5+.

Tuesday, Oct. 25: 9th Congressional District debate between US Rep. Adam Smith and challenger Doug Basler at 2 pm at Seattle University. Watch on king5.com and KING 5+.

friday, october 28: 8th Congressional District debate between US Rep. Kim Schrier and challenger Matt Larkin at 7 pm at Central Washington University. Watch on KONG, king5.com and KING 5+.