Delaware Debates 2012 will be held Oct. 16 and 17 in Mitchell Hall on the University of Delaware campus in Newark.

Delaware Debates

UD, DFM to co-host congressional, gubernatorial debates this fall


4 p.m., Aug. 7, 2012--This fall voters will have the opportunity once again to hear the views of candidates on the ballot in the First State during Delaware Debates 2012, a joint initiative by the University of Delaware’s Center for Political Communication and Delaware First Media, with sponsorship from AARP and the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network.

Delaware Debates 2012 will be held on Oct. 16 and 17. Each evening will feature two back-to-back debates with the first beginning at 7 p.m. On Tuesday, Oct. 16, the U.S. House of Representatives debate will be followed by the debate for U.S. Senate, and Wednesday, Oct. 17, the evening will begin with the lieutenant gubernatorial debate and will be followed by the gubernatorial debate. 

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All debates will be held in Mitchell Hall on UD's Newark campus with an audience of students, invited guests and members of the public. A limited number of tickets will be available for the general public at locations throughout the state in September. Details about tickets and seating will be available in September. 

A live audio and video feed of Delaware Debates 2012 will be available to regional and national media, and the program will be broadcast live on WDDE 91.1 FM and streamed live on the web and archived online by the University and at

Each debate will include a formal, moderated question-and-answer segment, as well as questions from UD students. The moderator of the debates will be Delaware First Media's Nancy Karibjanian, a veteran journalist who has covered Delaware politics for more than 25 years and who co-moderated the nationally televised Delaware Debates 2010 with CNN’s Wolf Blitzer.

“Despite the popularity of online media, the excitement and unpredictability of formal, moderated, in-person debates remains a highlight of any campaign season,” said Ralph J. Begleiter, who directs UD's nonpartisan Center for Political Communication. “There’s something electric about moments when aspiring officeholders confront the issues of the day with their political opponents. The University of Delaware is pleased to provide the venue for these important moments in 2012.”

“As in 2010, Delaware Debates 2012 will be a premier political season event in the First State as well as a public service to Delaware voters and the region,” Begleiter continued.

“The Delaware Debates provide tremendous civic value to our state,” said Micheline B. Boudreau, president of Delaware First Media. “Providing avenues for civil discourse is a core component of our mission at DFM and WDDE. These debates also offer a premier learning experience to our student interns who assist in the production of the event.”

Delaware Debates 2012 are part of an academic course and a speaker series at UD called National Agenda, which is part of the University's new political communication minor for undergraduates and organized by the Center for Political Communication. This year’s National Agenda theme is “Road to the Presidency.” 

Standards for Delaware Debates

Delaware Debates 2012 are non-partisan and open to all candidates in the Delaware races for U.S. Congress, governor and lieutenant governor who meet the nationally recognized debate inclusion criteria established by the Debate Advisory Standards Project, a joint project of the Pew Center and the Knight Center. These are the same respected national criteria used in the Delaware Debates 2010, co-hosted by Delaware First Media and the University of Delaware. 

In accordance with the national standards for debates held immediately before the election, Delaware Debates 2012 will feature the major candidates for each office. Registered political candidates can qualify for Delaware Debates by meeting any one or more of a broad array of standards that indicate seriousness of purpose and voter support, including polled support, prior history in politics, party support and campaign funds raised. Complete details of the criteria for inclusion will be posted on the Delaware Debates 2012 web site in September. The criteria were included with invitations to the candidates over the spring and summer.

About CPC

The University of Delaware’s nonpartisan Center for Political Communication, launched in 2010, consolidates and supports faculty expertise in emerging communication technologies, explores their effects on elections and policy debates, establishes faculty, graduate and undergraduate research opportunities, and encourages public engagement. A central area of exploration is the role of Internet-based social networking technologies in influencing discourse among citizens and their governments.

The center includes research and teaching faculty in political science, communication, history and public policy. It focuses on the relationship among new modes of communication, citizenship and politics.

The center presents major, high-visibility campus events featuring the most prominent and successful role models in politics and public policy. Government officials, journalists, political strategists, professional communicators and international experts meet personally with undergraduates for in-depth discussion of current affairs in the center’s National Agenda and Global Agenda series annually.

Bloomberg News dubbed the University of Delaware “the epicenter of politics” during the 2008 national campaign, because Vice President Joe Biden and the two top campaign strategists for Barack Obama and John McCain had also been students at UD. Chris Christie, also a UD alumnus, joined the “epicenter” when he was elected governor of New Jersey

About DFM

Delaware First Media is the parent company of the online news organization DFM News and of WDDE 91.1 FM, Delaware’s first-ever NPR News station, launching in August 2012 with high-quality national/international programming and Delaware-based news and information. From its headquarters and broadcast studio on the campus of Delaware State University, WDDE-FM operates with support from the University of Delaware and DSU.

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