UDaily published the following article by Ann Manser, with photo by Duane Perry, on October 20, 2016. See the gubernatorial debate here and the congressional debate here.
Candidates in Delaware'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 and Delaware Public Media. The debates were held in Mitchell Hall on the University of Delaware's Newark campus.
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 current U.S. Rep. John Carney — a Democrat who is not seeking
re-election to his congressional seat — and Republican State Sen. Colin
Bonini. The debate was recorded and will air at a later date on C-SPAN.
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.
The second debate featured congressional candidates Lisa Blunt
Rochester, a Democrat, and Republican Hans Reigle answering questions
posed by Dawson, Karibjanian and David Redlawsk, the James R. Soles
Professor of Political Science and International Relations at UD.
Questions from the panelists included issues of income inequality,
global trade, the national debt and federal spending, immigration and
border security, gun rights, the Affordable Care Act, Social Security
and gridlock in Congress.
In response to questions from students and the public, Reigle and
Rochester discussed such topics as climate change, infrastructure and
The event marked the fourth biennial Delaware Debates, an initiative
that began in 2010. Karibjanian said the project has been successful in
promoting civic engagement.
“Months of planning and collaboration go into the debates, and it is
source of pride for the Center for Political Communication that they
provide a tremendous public service to the people of Delaware as they
prepare to make their decisions on Election Day,” she said.