The Significance of Batten Hosting Fifth District Debate

On Friday, September 28th, the Batten School, Center for Effective Lawmaking (CEL), College Republicans at UVA, and University Democrats at UVA co-hosted a debate between Democrat Leslie Cockburn and Republican Denver Riggleman—the candidates vying for Virginia’s 5th Congressional District seat in the November midterm elections. The non-partisan debate was moderated by Batten Professors Craig Volden and Gerald Warburg.

Garrett Hall is no stranger to events of this caliber—each week the school hosts distinguished speakers from a wide range of policy-related fields during Batten Hour, and welcomes nationally and internationally recognized guests throughout the academic calendar. But a debate is something else entirely, and hosting one—which the school has done in some capacity since opening its doors in 2007—reinforces Batten’s foundational commitment to civil discourse and civic engagement.  

The nature of a political debate is as such: to expose the most pressing public issues of the time to public scrutiny. In any culture or political system, debates are the bedrock of democracy—truth being more important than victory. This is central to the mission of the University as a public institution.

In an interview with The Cavalier Daily prior to the debate, Professor Warburg said “We feel it’s an obligation for us as a public institution to facilitate this type of dialogue and it is very much part of the Batten mission. This is an opportunity for voters including students to interact with the two people who could be representing them in an important race, in an important election.”


View more coverage of Friday’s debate:


5th District candidates’ differences on display

The Daily Progress

(This article also appeared in the Lynchburg News and Advance and Roanoke Times)


Congressional hopefuls spar during debate at UVA


Fifth District candidates debate at UVA


5th District Candidates Discuss Affordable Housing in Central Va. at 3rd Debate


VA-05 Debate Highlights That on Issue After Issue, Riggleman (R) Is Wildly Wrong and Cockburn (D) Is Absolutely Right
Blue Virginia


One Year After Horrific Las Vegas Gun Massacre, Denver Can’t “Riggle” His Way Out of Support for Bump Stocks
Blue Virginia

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