How Debates Impact Election Campaigns

Published: Friday, October 10, 2014 - 3:46pm
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There are a bunch of TVs in our newsroom and, over the past week or so, it’s been impossible to look up from your computer for even a minute without seeing a string of political commercials, one after another.

Early ballots will be in mailboxes in the next day or so and what some analysts call Election Month is officially on. But some candidates are easier to spot than others.

Check out this exchange from KAET’s Arizona Horizon show during a debate late last month between Superintendent of Public Instruction Candidates David Garcia, a Democrat, and Republican Diane Douglas.

"The first week of October, there are five debates in four different counties," Garcia said. "I have confirmed my attendance to every single one of those and I’m asking my opponent to do the same."

"I am not, sir, allowing you to run my campaign schedule," Douglas said. "Thank you very much for wanting to be my scheduler, but I have a very capable wonderful woman doing that. And I’m here to talk about education."

To debate or to not debate. Lara Brown with the Graduate School of Political Management at George Washington University said candidates leading in the polls generally want fewer debates, while those behind often push for more. Brown said in a given race, three debates is probably enough.

Catherine Alonzo, Founding Partner of the Phoenix-based campaign consulting firm Javelina, said the strategy is different for each candidate.

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