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Delaware Debates 2014: U.S. Senate and U.S. House of Representatives

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University hosts debates among state's congressional candidates

U.S. Rep. John Carney answers Delaware Debates questions posed by Jason Mycoff and Nancy Karibjanian.

2:06 p.m., Oct. 16, 2014--Candidates for the state’s congressional delegation squared off in the Delaware Debates 2014, a joint initiative of the University of Delaware’s Center for Political Communication and Delaware Public Media, on Wednesday evening, Oct. 15, in Mitchell Hall on the UD campus in Newark.

The debates featuring candidates for the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives were held back-to-back.

The opening debate featured the race for the House of Representatives and as Republican Rose Izzo had chosen to participate in a campaign event elsewhere, Democratic incumbent John Carney sat alone to answer questions posed live by Delaware Public Media’s Nancy Karibjanian, adjunct faculty member in UD’s Department of Communication, and UD’s Jason Mycoff, associate professor of political science and international relations, as well as questions on videotape by students from Delaware State University and UD.

Carney, who holds a master of public administration degree from UD, answered questions on topics including the economy and manufacturing, income inequality, national security threats, ebola, education and gridlock in Congress.

The Senate debate followed and featured Democratic incumbent Chris Coons, who is running for his first full term, and Republican Kevin Wade, a UD electrical engineering alumnus.

The candidates answered questions posed by Karibjanian and UD’s Lindsay Hoffman, associate professor of communication and political science and international relations and coordinator of research in politics and technology in the Center for Political Communication. Again, Delaware State and UD student questions were included.

The candidates answered questions about the economy, national security, ebola, education and the Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare.

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Democratic incumbent U.S. Sen. Chris Coons (left) and Republican Kevin Wade answer Delaware Debates questions posed by Lindsay Hoffman and Nancy Karibjanian.

“I feel the debates achieved several important goals,” said Ralph Begleiter, director of UD’s Center for Political Communication. “For the Delaware community, they provided a rare opportunity to see the candidates respond to unrehearsed questioning, in depth, on the important issues facing the state and the nation. Rather than a battle of sound bites, the Delaware Debates offered thoughtful conversation revealing the candidates' real thinking on these issues.”

With the University serving as host, Begleiter said the Delaware Debates “demonstrated again UD’s commitment as a ‘citizen university’ to its public service mission, to serving the state and the nation, combined with student engagement.”

Begleiter said there were more than 100 students watching the "live" debates, and commenting thoughtfully on what they saw and heard. “For many students, the debates were very likely their first exposure to hands-on politics, and proved that politics is not a ‘dirty word,’ but rather can be respectful, thoughtful dialog and disagreement on policy issues,” he said.

“I am proud of the University's partnership with Delaware Public Media in this manifestation of civic engagement,” Begleiter said. “Our partnership is both meaningful and powerful, because our combined expertise and resources produce the highest quality debates, not only in Delaware but across the nation. Other states have consulted with us on how we do it, and C-Span’s broadcasts of our debates proves UD is known and respected nationwide in the arena of political communication.”

Begleiter added he is “very grateful to our supporters, both within the University and in the community, for helping us achieve these significant goals.”

Photos by Kevin Quinlan

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