Spate of debates will give R.I. congressional candidates chances to carve off slices of support
John M. Marion, executive director of Common Cause Rhode Island, said the busy debate schedule will give candidates lots of chances to secure chunks of support in what is expected to be a low-turnout special election. The primary is Sept. 5, and the special election is Nov. 7.
“The candidates are trying to put together small slices of the electorate into a winning coalition,” Marion said. “And whether it’s debating this week around issues of war and peace or debating last week about issues of racial equality, they are speaking to different parts of the electorate that care deeply about different issues. There might be a chance for them to stand out.” …
Another benefit will come from how debates can shape news coverage, Marion said. Without candidate forums, media coverage tends to focus on polling and the “horse race,” or on press releases and news conferences where candidates are trying to get a message out on their own terms, he said.
“In debates, candidates are held accountable for their message by both the moderators and their opponents,” he said, “so the coverage is often more substantive.”
To read the full story, click here.