WRAL’s Election Coverage Informs Viewers of Choices

U.S. Senate Debate

House Speaker Thom Tillis, Wilkesboro nurse Heather Grant, Dr. Greg Brannon of Cary and Rev. Mark Harris of Charlotte, left to right, engage in an April 23, 2014, debate among leading Republican candidates for U.S. Senate.

The May primaries are still weeks away, but WRAL’s commitment to election coverage kicked into high gear in April, making information available to voters on all of our platforms.

In the US Senate race, WRAL-TV brought in all eight candidates running for the Republican for a pair of debates.  The first debate brought together the front-runners in the race: Greg Brannon of Cary, Heather Grant of Wilkesboro, Mark Harris of Charlotte, and House Speaker Thom Tillis of Charlotte.   It was televised live on April 23, 2014, here on WRAL. The second debate was recorded the next day, and brought together the second tier of candidates: Ted Alexander, Alex Bradshaw, Edward Kryn, and Jim Snyder.  The second debate aired Saturday night, April 26th on WRAL.  Both debates were made available to media outlets across the state, and will air at various times in other cities in the coming days.  They are also available for streaming on demand from WRAL.com.

In both debates, WRAL-TV Anchor David Crabtree moderated a half-hour conversation with the stated purpose of asking questions that would require the candidates to provide specific answers, rather than vague talking points.

“The job of moderator in a live debate is a difficult one. Unfortunately, it isn’t always pretty,” Crabtree said.  My job was to probe beyond surface answers to better understand each candidate’s position, getting as many specifics as I can.”

After each debate, WRAL’s Capitol Bureau Chief Laura Leslie and Multimedia Investigative Reporter Mark Binker joined Crabtree for a short debrief.  The 10-15 minute conversation examines initial reactions to the candidates’ statements.  Those conversations stream live on WRAL.com, and are also available as video on demand for later viewing.

In addition to this pair of debates, WRAL-TV’s public affairs program “On the Record” has spent much of the last month focused on the candidates running for the US House of Representatives in our area.  Specifically, candidates from the Second and Seventh House Districts have appeared on the broadcast.

“This is a daunting task,” Crabtree said, “Covering as many of the races as possible and offering a public platform for each of the candidates.  The vast majority have jumped at the opportunity to appear On The Record. Only a few have declined.”

Leslie and Binker joined Crabtree in many of these interviews.  They have also provided extensive coverage of the candidates on WRAL’s website, including fact checks of political ads and debates.  Their articles appear in the @NCCapitol section of our website.   WRAL.com Political Editor Matt Burns has assembled a Voter’s Guide that lets you compare the candidates in your district, and find your polling site for early voting.

“We are committed to the most comprehensive coverage in the state, not just candidate bios,” Crabtree said.  “From what we showcase in live interviews and what WRAL.com has produced online, voters have the means to be better informed about candidates backgrounds, their positions, and more importantly, the reasons for their positions, than ever before.”

Thanks to WRAL-TV’s Stephanie Beck for this capcom story & to WRAL.com’s Kelly Hinchcliffe for this capcom photo.

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