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Political Debates Becoming an A-State Campus Tradition


JONESBORO – Another candidate debate has become a permanent part of Arkansas's political history.

When the Democratic Party nominee, Mike Ross, and the Republican Party nominee, Asa Hutchinson, met on stage in the Reng Student Union's Centennial Hall, it was not the first time students had had a chance see a live debate on campus.

The gubernatorial debate Monday night at Arkansas State University has been added to a list that goes back several campaigns.

There is no debate about the fact a university campus, where ideas are routinely exchanged and discussed, is an appropriate venue for students and guests to watch politicians articulate their viewpoints on various issues.

Representatives of the Northeast Arkansas Political Animals Club, lead sponsor of the debate Monday, have said previously that one of the club's goals is to help facilitate a more informed electorate in northeast Arkansas.

Some of the notable political debates in Arkansas State's history:

  • Running for U.S. representative from the 1st Congressional District of Arkansas, three candidates responded to panelists' questions on Oct. 21, 2010, in the ASU-TV studio.  The Department of Political Science chair served as moderator.  Rick Crawford won the race, becoming the successor to Marion Berry, who was not seeking re-election. 
  • The Student Government Association hosted the first of three televised debates for governor of Arkansas in the 2006 election.  The candidates talked about their goals in Riceland Hall of Fowler Center.  Mike Beebe later won election to his first of two terms. 
  • During his campaign for a fifth term, which later ended early after his election to the presidency, Gov. Bill Clinton participated in a televised debate on Sept. 24, 1990, in the auditorium of the Convocation Center.

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