The long-awaited mayoral debate moderated by former candidate for mayor Nikkita Oliver has been announced.
The debate between Jenny Durkan and Cary Moon will occur Oct. 29. Jon Grant and Teresa Mosqueda, candidates for City Council Position 8, will also debate.
Oliver announced plans to hold a debate during her concession speech in August. Typically, when candidates leave a race they endorse one of the remaining candidates. However, Oliver said in her concession speech that she would not be endorsing any candidates, and instead would be holding mayoral forums as a way she and her Peoples Party could keep pressure on policymakers.
A one-time candidate turning around and becoming a debate moderator in a single election cycle is unusual, and not every candidate would be able to pull it off. But with Oliver’s large grassroots following, Moon and Durkan have been loath to criticize her—in fact, even Oliver expressed some annoyance with the nice things her opponents had to say about her, all while working to defeat her in the primary. As Casey Jaywork wrote in August, participating in the debate is a “calculated risk” for both candidates: Durkan, who enjoys lots of institutional support, is not a natural candidate for Oliver supporters to get behind; yet Moon also has some baggage with Oliver supporters, as she sapped leftist support from Oliver (as evidenced by the dueling endorsements in The Stranger.)
But, as we learned today, both are game to give it a shot. The debate will begin at 5 p.m. at the Yesler Community Center (doors open at 4:30 p.m.)