Commission planning debates for high-profile races


The Indiana Debate Com­mission is planning up to five political debates this year with an emphasis on U.S. Senate and gubernatorial races.

Work is already underway by the board.

“This is an important election year, and we’re not waiting until candidates have made official declarations,” said Max Jones, president of the commission and editor of the Tribune-Star (Terre Haute). “Our goal is to have as many options open as possible early in the election year.”

The commission, which hosted three gubernatorial debates in its first year of operation in 2008, has had debates in every election year for statewide races and is one of the nation’s only non-partisan standing debate groups made up of citizen groups and media.

The commission’s website will be revised and social media will also be employed for the first time for Hoosier voters to submit questions.

“We want to expand our reach as much as possible this year,” Jones said. “With important state and federal races – and a new field of candidates for governor – we’re engaging as soon as possible.”

The commission’s past practices have included:

  • Opening venues to on-site public attendance with free tickets distributed at public points of access in the general election.
  • Paying for satellite time so that any media outlets – including state and national – can pick up the feed.
  • Allowing citizens to post questions for consideration in the debate.

“Our goal is essentially the same – putting voters first,” Jones said.

Venue and location review for debates will be underway within 30 days.

The Indiana Debate Com­mission is a non-partisan, statewide group representing 13 citizen and media affiliates dedicated to promoting debates at the state level.

For more information, visit