Republican David Brat and Democrat Jack Trammell, both Randolph-Macon College professors and both candidates for the 7th District congressional seat, will debate at the college’s Blackwell Auditorium tonight at 7:30. Tickets to see the debate live in Blackwell are no longer available, but WWBT-NBC12 and rmc.edu will be live-streaming the event. Brat and Trammell will answer questions based on those submitted online weeks prior, and college President Robert Lindgren, as well as Heather Sullivan of NBC12, will moderate.
A watch party in Randolph-Macon College’s Lindgren Pavilion in Birdsong Hall is scheduled to start at 7:15 p.m. R-MC’s Young Democrats, Young Republicans, and Political Science Students Association (PSSA) will also hold a post-debate town hall. WRIC-ABC8 News’ Juan Conde, along with R-MC’s political science professors, will lead a discussion of the debate.
As junior politics and opinions editor for R-MC’s student newspaper, the Yellow Jacket, I can attest to the interest that the campaign has stirred up on campus. A number of students are attending either the live debate in Blackwell or the watch party. Student Government Association President Talbot Weston will be attending the debate in Blackwell, she says, because she’s “interested in seeing the interactions of the two professors on their standpoints.” Weston is also interested in whether “Randolph-Macon is going to come up during the debate and just to see the debate live, this is kind of unheard-of to happen.”
Students who know one or both of the candidates personally sometimes have an even more personal interest in the outcome. While expressing support for one candidate to win, some students also felt sad at the idea of a favorite professor no longer being there to teach. For them, the results will prove bittersweet.
Brat vs. Trammell T-shirts with the college logo were nearly sold out shortly after arriving at the bookstore, and half-red, half-blue Randolph-Macon College Brat/Trammell buttons can be seen on backpacks and T-shirts around campus. Both the college and the politics-based student organizations have refrained from favoring one candidate over another. While the Young Democrats and Young Republicans have both done campaigning for the candidates representing their parties, they and the PSSA came together to arrange the town hall with a desire to establish a united front behind both candidates.