Steve Hobbs versus Julie Anderson
Steve Hobbs versus Julie Anderson

Wash­ing­ton vot­ers inter­est­ed in watch­ing a can­di­date debate between this year’s two final­ists for Sec­re­tary of State this month will have at least two more oppor­tu­ni­ties to watch Demo­c­ra­t­ic incum­bent Steve Hobbs and chal­lenger Julie Ander­son square off again before the dead­line to return bal­lots arrives.

The first of these will be on Sun­day, Octo­ber 23rd, when Hobbs and Ander­son (unaf­fil­i­at­ed with a par­ty) appear at Gon­za­ga Uni­ver­si­ty in Spokane for a can­di­date forum host­ed by the League of Women Vot­ers and The Spokesman-Review. Tick­ets are avail­able to the gen­er­al pub­lic for this event.

The sec­ond will be on Wednes­day, Octo­ber 26th, when the Seat­tle Chan­nel is set to host a debate between Hobbs and Ander­son, who gar­nered the first and sec­ond most votes in the August Top Two elec­tion, respectively.

Ander­son, the Pierce Coun­ty Audi­tor, edged out all of the Repub­li­can can­di­dates run­ning this year in the Top Two, so they were elim­i­nat­ed from contention.

How­ev­er, Repub­li­can State Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Brad Klip­pert (who him­self was elim­i­nat­ed in the Top Two elec­tion in an unsuc­cess­ful cam­paign to oust Dan New­house) has decid­ed to run a write-in cam­paign for the office as a Repub­li­can. The Wash­ing­ton State Repub­li­can Par­ty has endorsed his bid.

The Wash­ing­ton State Debate Coali­tion, mean­while, has pulled the plug on its own planned Sec­re­tary of State can­di­date debate in Taco­ma because the times­lot cho­sen by the coali­tion did not work for Sec­re­tary Hobbs.

The coali­tion last month pub­licly announced its inten­tion to hold a debate on Octo­ber 18th at 1 PM at the Uni­ver­si­ty of Puget Sound, hop­ing that Hobbs would even­tu­al­ly be able to make the date work, but Hobbs already had a pri­or com­mit­ment and made it clear to the coali­tion he would be hon­or­ing it.

Efforts to resched­ule to anoth­er date and time were not successful.

“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. Hold­ing the event with only one can­di­date present does not pro­vide that oppor­tu­ni­ty,” not­ed Ali­cia Crank, exec­u­tive direc­tor of Seat­tle City­Club and the Debate Coalition.

For­tu­nate­ly, as men­tioned above, the plan­ning for two oth­er debates this month worked out, and both Sec­re­tary of State can­di­dates are expect­ed to be present togeth­er on each side of the state for a vig­or­ous dis­cus­sion of the issues.

These upcom­ing events will not be their first debates, as Hobbs and Ander­son made three joint appear­ances before the Top Two elec­tion plus one more since cer­ti­fi­ca­tion, host­ed by the Asso­ci­a­tion of Wash­ing­ton Business.

(AWB sub­se­quent­ly endorsed Steve Hobbs’ cam­paign to be retained.)

Ordi­nar­i­ly, the posi­tion of Sec­re­tary of State is elect­ed in pres­i­den­tial years, but there is a spe­cial elec­tion for the office this year because Hobbs’ pre­de­ces­sor Kim Wyman resigned a year ago to take a job in the Biden admin­is­tra­tion, work­ing for Jen East­er­ly at the Cyber­se­cu­ri­ty and Infra­struc­ture Secu­ri­ty Agency (CISA). Wyman has remained in the news as CISA’s Senior Elec­tion Secu­ri­ty Lead.

Hobbs was sub­se­quent­ly appoint­ed by Gov­er­nor Jay Inslee to take over for Wyman. He is the first Demo­c­ra­t­ic Sec­re­tary of State in Wash­ing­ton in more than half a cen­tu­ry, and the first Asian Amer­i­can / Pacif­ic Islander to serve in the post.

Who­ev­er wins will serve out the rest of the unex­pired term that Wyman was elect­ed to by vot­ers in Novem­ber of 2020. Anoth­er reg­u­lar elec­tion for the office will be held in 2024 along with the state’s nine oth­er statewide exec­u­tive offices.

About the author

Andrew Villeneuve is the founder and executive director of the Northwest Progressive Institute, as well as the founder of NPI's sibling, the Northwest Progressive Foundation. He has worked to advance progressive causes for over two decades as a strategist, speaker, author, and organizer. Andrew is also a cybersecurity expert, a veteran facilitator, a delegate to the Washington State Democratic Central Committee, and a member of the Climate Reality Leadership Corps.

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