Statewide & Local Debates

The highest-profile components of Seattle CityClub’s commitment to civic education, non-partisan engagement, and leader access are its free, public debates.

Held each year, CityClub’s annual debate slate alternates between Local Debates for Seattle municipal elections and Washington State Debate Coalition debates for statewide and federal elections.

Washington State Debate Coalition

One of only four such entities in the nation, Seattle CityClub’s trailblazing Washington State Debate Coalition enhances voters’ access to candidates for statewide offices such as governor, attorney general, and U.S. Senate. Click here or on the image above to learn more.

SCC Local Debates

CityClub’s focus on Seattle mayoral and City Council candidates connect candidates for these important local offices with the people they seek to represent. Click here or on the image above to learn more.

Hosting a Debate

Voter Information: Washingtonians Deserve Better

Most voter information about candidates for our most important federal and state offices comes from highly partisan sources or advertising by the candidates and third parties. Live debate between candidates presents one of the few opportunities for the public to hear directly from candidates about why they should be elected, provides the opportunity to ask direct questions of the candidates, and allows viewers to directly compare candidates who can challenge one another.

What Does a High-Quality Debate Look Like?

In order to challenge prevailing trends and power dynamics that reduce political transparency, candidate accountability, and public participation, we have established the following criteria for high-quality political debates:

  • Incumbents and challengers both participate
  • Short answer and in-depth discussions of our most challenging issues
  • Broad distribution through a variety of mediums
  • Varied formats with public engagement elements
  • Geographic diversity

Host a High-Quality Debate

Interested in hosting your own high-quality debate? Check out Seattle CityClub’s Debate Toolkit and help your community with information, access, and engagement. If you have any questions, reach out to us at and we’ll see how we can help.

Seattle CityClub Debate Toolkit

Frequently Asked Questions

Where can I watch the debates?

Our premier media members (KCTS 9, KING 5, KIRO 7, KOMO NEWS 4, KUOW, Q13 NEWS, and TVW) are required to at least livestream each debate, and depending on the locale, premier members will broadcast live on television. We will provide more broadcast and livestream details once the debates are closer to production.

  • U.S. Senate debate at PLU: Broadcast live at 12:30 p.m. PST on KING 5 and KIRO 7. Delayed broadcast at 7 p.m. PST on KCTS, TVW, and KONG. Livestreamed on many Coalition partner websites. Live radio broadcast on KUOW.
  • WA-8th debate at CWU: Broadcast live at 7 p.m. PST on KING 5, KVI Radio, KUOW, NCWLIFE Channel, KPQ AM560, and AM 770 KTTH. Delayed broadcast on KOMO Radio, KCTS 9, TVW. Livestreamed on many Coalition partner websites including KIRO 7 and Q13 News.
  • U.S. Senate debate at Spokane Community College: Broadcast live at 3 p.m. PST on KSKN and KONG TV. Delayed broadcast on  KING 5, KCTS 9, KOMO and TVW. Livestreamed on many Coalition partner websites including KIRO 7 and KPQ.
How do I submit questions for the debates?

In order to make sure we have diverse questions that cover multiple topics, we are asking residents to submit their questions in advance for selection. Submitted questions will be reviewed, selected and edited for brevity. Submit a question.

Who can join?

The Coalition includes former public officials, nonpartisan organizations, colleges and universities and media partners. Although they come from all areas of the state (urban and rural Washington; eastern, western and central Washington), all Coalition members believe the need has never been greater for civic engagement that brings Washingtonians together. They see it as their responsibility to help inform public policy decisions and to create a transparent and civil process for the election of the leaders of our state.

Questions About Hosting a Debate or Joining the Coalition:

Contact Alex Wheeler, Director of Civic Engagement, at awheeler@ or 206.682.7395

Media Inquiries:

Contact Jason Ludwig, Communications Manager, at jludwig@ or 206.682.7395