PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Kim Thatcher and Shemia Fagan, candidates in Oregon’s secretary of state race, faced off in a socially-distant debate at the KOIN 6 News studio Tuesday evening.

During the hourlong debate, the Republican and Democratic contenders for Bev Clarno’s seat answered questions on topics ranging from the safety of elections to the recent walkouts by Republican legislators that Thatcher participated in. They also discussed protecting Oregon’s forests.

When Dennis Richardson died in 2019, Oregon Gov. Kate Brown named Clarno to replace him, with the stipulation that she wouldn’t run in 2020, making the secretary of state race an open one.

On the Republican side, Kim Thatcher easily dispatched her primary rival to become the nominee. Shemia Fagan earned the Democratic nomination with a razor-thin win that needed extra time to count all the ballots.

Both are state senators. Fagan represents Portland in District 24, Thatcher represents Keizer in District 13.

Listen to the entire debate on the KOIN Podcast Network

Regardless of how they got there, Thatcher, 55, hopes to extend the GOP’s hold on this statewide office while Fagan, 39, seeks to return it to the Democrats.

Oregon doesn’t have a lieutenant governor so the winner of this election is next in line if the current governor steps down.