PFW professor set to moderate first Indiana gubernatorial debate

Local News

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) – A familiar face in Summit City politics has been assigned a key role in the race for governor. Purdue Fort Wayne’s Dr. Andy Downs will serve as moderator for the first gubernatorial debate.

Downs, director of the Mike Downs Center for Indiana Politics, is a member of the Indiana Debate Commission, which will put on two debates in October. The first is set to happen Tuesday, October 20. The candidates include Republican incumbent Governor Eric Holcomb, Democrat Woodrow Myers and Libertarian Donald Rainwater.

“I believe that moderators, if you do your job well, no one notices you are there,” Downs told WANE 15.

Downs described the job as that of a “traffic cop,” keeping track of the sequencing of who is answering questions and the order of opening and closing arguments. He noted that things get more complicated when candidates go beyond their allowed time or challenge something that was said earlier in the debate.

“Debate Commission debates are fairly uniform, straight forward and it’s Indiana – we have a lot of people who are very polite who run for office, so you don’t go in expecting things to get unruly,” Downs added. “You prepare for that, but in the overall majority of cases, that doesn’t happen.”

Because of the pandemic, the debates will not be in front of a live audience. Voters can submit questions to be asked in the debate here: indianadebatecommission.com

What makes a good debate question?

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