UD's Center for Political Communication and Delaware Public Media will host the Delaware Debates 2014, featuring candidates for the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives, on Oct. 15, and tickets are now.

Delaware Debates

Tickets available for Delaware Debates set Oct. 15 in UD's Mitchell Hall


1:31 p.m., Sept. 29, 2014--This fall, voters will have the opportunity to hear the views of candidates in the First State during the Delaware Debates 2014, a joint initiative of the University of Delaware’s Center for Political Communication and Delaware Public Media, with sponsorship from the William P. Frank Foundation and the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network.

The debates featuring candidates for the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives will be held back-to-back on Wednesday evening, Oct. 15, in Mitchell Hall, located on UD’s Newark campus. 

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The audience will include students, invited guests and members of the public. A limited number of free tickets are now available on a first come, first served basis for the general public at the following locations:

  • Bob Carpenter Center Box Office, 631 South College Avenue, Newark
  • Trabant Box Office, Trabant University Center
  • WDDE, 1200 North Dupont Highway, Dover
  • UD’s Hugh R. Sharp Campus, 700 Pilottown Road, 204 Cannon Lab, Lewes

Doors will open at 6 p.m. and attendees must be seated by 6:30 p.m. Details about parking and directions are available on the Delaware Debates website

For everyone attending the debates, no campaign materials, literature, hats, stickers, signs or banners will be allowed inside Mitchell Hall. By penalty of removal from the venue, the audience will also be prohibited from applauding or making noise during the debate and may not do anything visible or audible to express support or opposition to any candidate during the debate.

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

Both debates will include a formal, moderated question-and-answer segment, as well as questions from UD and Delaware State University students. The moderators of the debates include Delaware Public Media’s Nancy Karibjanian, adjunct faculty member in UD’s Department of Communication and a veteran journalist who has covered the Delaware political scene for more than 25 years. She moderated the 2012 debates, and was co-moderator of the nationally-televised debates in 2010 with CNN’s Wolf Blitzer. 

“The excitement and unpredictability of formal, moderated, and in-person debates remains a highlight in any campaign season,” said Ralph J. Begleiter, director of UD’s nonpartisan Center for Political Communication. “There is something about the energy in moments when those hoping to take public office confront the issues of the day in public with their political opponents. The University of Delaware is honored to provide the venue for these kinds of important moments in 2014.”

“As in the past two election cycles, the Delaware Debates 2014 will be the premier event in this political season not to mention a great public service to Delaware and the region’s voters,” 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 Delaware Public Media and WDDE. These debates also offer a invaluable learning experience to our student interns who assist in the production of the event.”

The Delaware Debates 2014 are a component of an academic course and a speaker series at UD called National Agenda, which is part of the University’s political communication minor for undergraduates, and is organized by the Center for Political Communication. 

This year’s theme is “Battle for Congress” and includes talks from experts both setting the context in which the elections are taking place as well as providing in-depth post-election analysis. For more information, see the National Agenda website.

Standards for the Delaware Debates

The Delaware Debates 2014 are non-partisan and open to all candidates in the Delaware races for U.S. Congress and Senate 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 and 2012, co-hosted by Delaware Public Media and UD.

In accordance with the national standards for debates held immediately before the election, Delaware Debates 2014 will feature the major candidates for each office. Registered political candidates can qualify for the 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 is posted on the Delaware Debates 2014 website. The criteria were included with invitations to the candidates over the spring and summer.

About the 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 provides 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 labeled UD “the epicenter of politics” during the 2008 national campaign due to Vice President Joe Biden and the two top campaign strategists for Barack Obama and John McCain having also been students at UD. Chris Christie, also a UD alumnus, joined the “epicenter” when he was elected governor of New Jersey.

About Delaware Public Media

Delaware First Media is the parent company of Delaware Public Media and WDDE 91.1 FM, Delaware’s first-ever NPR News station, launched in August of 2012. It provides high quality national and international news programming from NPR and other sources as well as Delaware news from its own news staff headquartered in Dover. WDDE operates with support from the University of Delaware and Delaware State University.

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