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WESTVILLE, Ind.–A debate featuring candidates running for Indiana’s U.S. Senate seat is tonight.  

It includes Democrat incumbent Joe Donnelly, Republican challenger Mike Braun, and Libertarian Lucy Brenton.

Purdue-Fort Wayne political scientist Andy Downs says you may get a sense of what Donnelly and Braun’s internal polling says from how aggressive they are on the debate stage. Even as a Democrat in red-state Indiana, Downs says Donnelly’s incumbency gives him an edge to start out with. In debates, he says that normally means the incumbent’s strategy is to play it safe. Downs suggests either candidate going on the attack may indicate their own polling is telling them they’re behind.

Downs says the debate gives Brenton a chance to broaden the Libertarian base. But it also gives the other two candidates a tactical option. In the portions of the debate reserved for direct interchanges between the candidates, he says you may see them direct questions at Brenton to reduce the amount of time their main rival has to talk.

The debate is the first of two Indiana Debate Commission debates and will come to you tonight from Westville at the campus of Purdue University Northwest.

The moderator for the debate is Anne Ryder, a veteran broadcaster who now teaches at the IU Media School.

All of the tickets are gone. The next debate by the Debate Commission is October 30 in Indianapolis. 

You can hear full coverage of tonight’s debate beginning at 7 on 93.1 FM WIBC. 


(PHOTO: I Voted_Getty_DavidMcNew)