Coin is flipped and moderators are set: WA State Debate Coalition gears up to host upcoming live debates

Culp and Inslee will debate on Oct. 7 and Heck and Liias on Oct. 22

Moderators for both debates have been selected

Coin flipped to decide who speaks first and who gets the last word

Seattle, Wash. (Oct 1, 2020) – The hours are counting down as the Washington State Debate Coalition (WSDC), led by Seattle CityClub, prepares to host two, historic debates. On Oct. 7, gubernatorial candidates Loren Culp and Jay Inslee will debate the issues facing all Washingtonians. On Oct. 22, candidates for lieutenant governor, Denny Heck and Marko Liias, will do the same. This is the first time in Washington State’s history that candidates will meet in
debates during an ongoing pandemic, a proud moment for the state at it demonstrates that the business of the people goes on, regardless of the challenges.

The debate coalition announced today that a coin toss was held Wednesday morning, September 30, to decide which candidate gets the choice of speaking first or having the final statement. Representatives from the WSDC and all four campaigns were on hand as Kellen Hoard, a 16-year-old junior from Kirkland, Washington flipped a coin for each debate. Hoard, who attends Inglemoor High School, is chair of the Legislative Youth Advisory Council
(LYAC), the official nonpartisan youth advisory body to the Washington State Legislature. The Inslee campaign won the toss for the gubernatorial debate. Jay Inslee has chosen to have the final statement, giving Loren Culp the opening statement. The Heck campaign won the toss for the lieutenant governor debate. Denny Heck has chosen to have the final statement, giving Marko Liias the opening statement.

In addition, WSDC also announced that Michelle Esteban (KOMO), Jessica Janner Castro (KING5), and Mike McClanahan (TVW) will serve as moderators for the lieutenant governor debate. The debate coalition had earlier announced that Chris Daniels (KING 5), Brandi Kruse (Q13 News), Essex Porter (KIRO 7) and Melissa Santos (KCTS 9/Crosscut) will moderate the gubernatorial debate.

“Recent events have demonstrated that great moderators are needed to produce an honest, fair debate,” said Laura Lockard, Chairperson of the WSDC, the founding force behind the debate coalition. “The moderators are all seasoned media members who are ready to oversee and respect the debate process.”

The gubernatorial debate will be broadcast live on KCTS 9, KING 5, KIRO 7, KOMO 4, NWPB, and TVW, and aired on KUOW. Q13 (KCPQ) will air the pre-recorded debate at 9pm. All of these broadcast media are partners with the coalition. The debate will also be live streamed on,,,,,, and

The WSDC and its partners are committed to the safety and security of all candidates, staff and volunteers involved in the upcoming debates while our state continues fighting the COVID-19 pandemic. Thus, debates will be held at the broadcast facilities of TVW in Olympia, Wash., where all public health guidelines for social gatherings and face coverings will be followed.


About the WA State Debate Coalition
Founded by Seattle CityClub in 2016, the Washington State Debate Coalition has produced seven public debates, viewed more than 1.5 million total times, covering gubernatorial elections, U.S. Senate races, and more. The WSDC is supported every election cycle by media, education and civic partners, all committed to the belief that making public debates available to all is crucial to a functioning democracy. It is sponsored by AARP Washington and BNSF Railway. To see all WSDC 2020 partners, and to access free Educational Resources and a WSDC FAQ,

About the Premiere Media Partners
The following media outlets are the WSDC’s distinguished partners for the 2020 debate season (in alphabetical order): Cascade Public Media, KING 5, KIRO 7, KOMO 4, KUOW, Northwest Public Broadcasting, Q13 (KCPQ) and TVW.

About Seattle CityClub
Seattle CityClub is a nonpartisan, 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization improving the civic health of the Puget Sound region by providing programs that bridge politics, sectors and generations to inform and engage residents and community leaders. For more information, visit

Media contact
Alexander Wheeler
Program Manager, Seattle CityClub