The Indiana Debate Commission, an independent organization that coordinates debates for major races in the state, released the schedule for major debates two weeks ago. The candidates for the Governor’s race will face off in three debates, while the candidates for the hotly contested U.S. Senate seat will battle it out in two debates.
Hoosier citizens will be able to submit questions to ask the candidates during the actual debates. Some citizens may be asked by the commission to ask their questions in person to the candidates at the debates. The commission is fully coordinating all aspects of the debates, working closely with the chosen venues.
The dates and times for the Governor Debates are as follows:
Wednesday, October 10- 7:00 p.m. EDT
Wednesday, October 17- 7:00 p.m. EDT
Thursday, October 25- 7:00 p.m. EDT
The tentative dates and times for the Senate Debates are:
Monday, October 15- 7:00 p.m. EDT
Tuesday, October 23- 7:00 p.m. EDT
The Importance of Debates
Debates give voters an opportunity to view the candidates’ positions on various issues. By allowing for voters to submit questions, the candidates will be forced to take positions on issues that are critical to Indiana voters. This will help voters decide who will best represent their interests as an elected official.
More than policy issues, the candidates usually must show they have the ability to lead and can connect with everyday citizens. Nonverbal actions, one-liners, and emotional appeals will all be key tactics used by the candidates to attract voters. People will sometimes pay more attention to a candidate’s personality and likeability rather than policy positions, making appearance and image a major aspect of televised debates.
Finally, the ability of the media to declare a winner in the debate can give a candidate an edge. Candidates will try to lower performance expectations before the debate, making it easier to exceed expectations and be declared the winner. Winning a debate give a candidate more momentum, greatly helping those candidates lagging in the polls. In close races, debates performances can help candidates propel themselves forward to win.
What to Look For
Since the Senate Race is extremely close in the state, the debates will be crucial. A win for Richard Mourdock or Joe Donnelly would most likely boost that candidate forward in the polls. Two debate wins might clinch the election for one of these candidates. Both will be prepping thoroughly for the debates, while continuing to lower expectations within the media.
In the Governor’s Race, Mike Pence has a huge leader over John Gregg. If Pence wins at least one of the three debates, he will most likely be able to maintain his lead over Gregg. However, if Gregg could win all three debates, he would likely gain momentum that would close the gap in the polls and tighten the race.