2 News to Air Debate Between Heller, Rosen
2 News will air a live debate Friday night between Senate candidates Dean Heller and Jacky Rosen. If you live in Northern Nevada the only place you can catch the debate is right here on 2 News.
2 News will air a live debate between Senate candidates Dean Heller and Jacky Rosen. The Republican and Democratic candidates will square off for one hour on Friday, October 19 at 6 p.m.
Friday's debate isn't open to the public but we'll be airing it live on 2 News at 6 p.m. We will also be streaming it online and on our news app.
Eric Herzik is the Chair of the Political Science Department at the University of Nevada. He says that the candidates will try to sway voters to their side of the ticket but that there will not be many undecided voters left by then.
"Debates generally aren't as important as people think because most people have already made up their mind," Herzik said. "Particularly, this debate coming late in October."
The debate is the night before early voting opens and less than three weeks before election day. Herzik says most of the people watching the debate will be doing it to see how their candidate does.
"Most people who watch the debate actually are engaging in what we call confirmation bias, that 'See, I knew my candidate would win,'" Herzik said.
He does say the debate serves a purpose though. It gives Heller a chance to tout his record and experience while Rosen has a chance to introduce herself to people who do not know much about her yet.
"This is one of the few times you see the candidates actually have to answer questions on their feet, so to speak, and not in front of a favorable audience," Herzik said.
Experts say Heller will want to emphasize the strong economy and his work with veterans while portraying Rosen as an inexperienced liberal candidate who falls in line with Nancy Pelosi. Rosen will likely stress her position on health care while casting Heller as a flip-flopper who caves to President Trump.
"She might introduce herself and do well, or conversely, Dean Heller will really try as his ads have to portray her in a very negative, very liberal tone," Herzik said.
These debates can backfire on candidates, depending on what they say and what tone they use.
"It can come back and haunt you," Herzik said. "Heller's gonna have to walk a line of, yes, criticizing Rosen but not being condescending, not being viciously negative."
Negativity is something many viewers see on the campaign ads and Herzik says we can expect more of the same, with just six weeks until the election.
"It's not gonna get any better and it's not just the candidates," Herzik said. "The candidate ads are where you will actually see a few positive ones but the outside money, those are overwhelmingly negative."
Herzik says Republicans usually show up to the polls, so this year's election will depend on nonpartisans and Democratic voter turnout. He says it is possible that the Democrats will flip the House of Representatives by picking up 24 seats but he expects Republicans to keep the majority in the Senate.
"I don't know if there's going to be a blue wave but there better be at least a strong current," Herzik said. "If there's not, the democrats are in trouble."
2 News will not be airing the CBS Evening News at 6 or 2 News at 6:30 on the night of the debate.
We'll livestream the debate, followed by our 7 o’clock news.