Candidates in the state’s congressional and gubernatorial races met
at the University of Delaware’s Mitchell Hall on Wednesday evening, Oct.
19, for Delaware Debates 2016, a joint initiative of UD’s Center for Political Communication (CPC) and Delaware Public Media.
The back-to-back debates featured the major-party candidates for
governor and for Delaware’s only seat in the U.S. House of
Representatives. During both debates, candidates characterized this
year’s campaign season in Delaware as issues-oriented and civil, often
in stark contrast to the tone of the 2016 presidential race.
“The Delaware candidates for governor and the U.S. House rose to the
occasion by sticking to the issues and offering substantive answers to
the in-depth questions posed by the panelists,” moderator Nancy
Karibjanian, director of the CPC, said after the event.
The event opened with the gubernatorial debate, which brought
together then U.S. Rep. John Carney — a Democrat who was not seeking
re-election to his congressional seat — and Republican State Sen. Colin
Bonini. The debate was recorded and later aired on C-SPAN (view video here).
Bonini and Carney answered questions from Karibjanian and from
panelists Lindsay Hoffman, associate professor of communication and of
political science and international relations and associate director of
the CPC, and James Dawson, political reporter for Delaware Public
Topics included policies for boosting economic and job growth in
Delaware, improving public education, reducing gun violence in
Wilmington, addressing climate change and sea-level rise and setting
spending priorities in the state budget.
In addition to questions from the panelists, the debate format
allowed students at UD and Delaware State University to ask questions
via video and members of the public to submit questions online. Those
questions raised such topics as legalization of marijuana, the death
penalty and initiatives to fight cancer and improve the lives of
patients and survivors.
Moderators from Delaware Public Media and the University of Delaware asked candidates questions on current issues such as policies for boosting economic and job growth in Delaware, improving public education, reducing gun violence in Wilmington, addressing climate change. Moderators also gave students from University of Delaware and Delaware State University an opportunity to ask questions via video. The event marked the fourth biennial Delaware Debates, an initiative that began in 2010.