The slate of legislative candidates who will appear at the League of Women Voters of Umpqua Valley's forum next Tuesday continues to shift.
Interim House District 2 Rep. Gary Leif, R-Roseburg, had previously said he would attend; however, the League announced Thursday that Leif had canceled. His Democratic challenger Megan Salter will still attend.
Meanwhile, Rep. Cedric Hayden, R-Fall Creek, and Christy Inskip, candidates for state House District 7, which includes North Douglas County, will attend the forum.
Hayden, the Republican incumbent, confirmed Wednesday evening he will attend. That clears the way for Inskip, the Democratic challenger, to attend also.
Interim Sen. Dallas Heard, R-Winston, turned down the League in September due to a scheduling conflict. His Democratic challenger Shannon Souza won't be seated. The League is following established rules about avoiding "empty chair" debates, in which only one party is represented. According to League rules, if there are just two candidates and one declines the invitation, the other can't be seated. Salter's situation is different under the rules, which specify that when both candidates initially accept the invitation and one withdraws, the other is allowed to participate.
League of Women Voters of Umpqua Valley President Jennifer Carloni said in an email to The News-Review Thursday the League understands candidates may have issues that prevent them from attending the forums.
"Unfortunately, this is a loss for voters. Research on voter behavior and participation shows that voters are more likely to vote when they know who the candidates are and where they stand on the issues," Carloni said.
Leif could not immediately be reached for comment Thursday afternoon.
The forum will be held at 7 p.m. Tuesday at the Holiday Inn Express, 375 W. Harvard Ave. in Roseburg.