Skip to main content

Norfolk State University to Host U.S. Senatorial Debate

Media Advisory

Norfolk State University to Host U.S. Senatorial Debate at L. Douglas Wilder Performing Arts Center—WAVY-TV 10, The Virginia Bar Association, Visit Norfolk to Co-Host

Mark WarnerDaniel Gade(NSU Newsroom—Sept. 22, 2020)— For the first time in Norfolk State University’s 85-year history, the institution will host a live U.S. Senatorial Debate on campus between Sen. Mark Warner, D-Va., and his Republican challenger, Daniel Gade, Ph.D., at the L. Douglas Wilder Performing Arts Center. The Oct. 3 debate will focus on racial disparities and inequities in education, healthcare, economic mobility and the criminal justice system.

VA Senate Debate -Commercial

Watch the U.S. Senatorial Debate at NSU on Facebook

The University and its Center for African American Public Policy (CAAmPP) has partnered with WAVY-TV-10, an NBC-affiliate and Nexstar Media Group station, The Virginia Bar Association, and Visit Norfolk to host the debate. The 90-minute debate between the candidates will stream on and on WAVY-TV 10’s Facebook Live channel and on the University’s radio station, WNSB-FM 91.1. at 5 p.m. WAVY-TV 10 will air the recorded debate on Oct. 5 at 6:30 p.m. 

The debate will be moderated by WAVY-TV 10 journalists Anita Blanton and Regina Mobley, an alumna of Norfolk State. In the weeks leading up to the debate, the station will air special features to showcase the institution and its impact in the Hampton Roads community. 

Norfolk State University President Dr. Javaune Adams-Gaston said it is an honor for the university to host the second of the three debates between the candidates at the university. As the state’s largest Historically Black College and University (HBCU), Adams-Gaston said NSU’s mission is to educate the next generation of thought-leaders who will make positive contributions to society through their scholarship and service.

“Norfolk State University is the appropriate venue to have a debate about these topics. Our institution serves an important mission in the Commonwealth of Virginia and it is fitting that we will serve as host during this crucial moment in our nation,” Adams-Gaston said. 

“Furthermore, we are pleased to have WAVY-TV 10 as our media partner and look forward to the event being moderated by Ms. Blanton and Mrs. Mobley—two highly respected journalists and alumnae of HBCUs in our region.”  

“I look forward to Sen. Warner and Dr. Gade visiting our campus to interact with our outstanding faculty and students. This will be a wonderful educational opportunity for the Spartan community to learn about each candidate as they prepare to exercise their most important civic duty—the right to vote.” 

“We are honored to be partnered with Norfolk State University for this Virginia Senate Debate, which we will broadcast statewide and will enable the people of Virginia to make informed decisions on Election Day,” WAVY-TV 10 General Manager Carol Ward said. “Virginians will hear directly from the candidates about the issues that matter most in our communities. We are grateful to NSU and the candidates for their participation and to our local communities for their continued engagement.”




Station Website




Norfolk, VA




Richmond, VA












Washington, D.C.




Tri-Cities, TN




Beckley, WV (Streaming ONLY)



The Virginia Bar Association has presented debates among candidates for statewide public office since 1985. "The VBA seeks to serve the public good and inform voters about important issues and elections,” said Alison M. McKee, president of Virginia's first and largest voluntary statewide bar association. “This year’s senatorial debate will highlight pressing issues involving racial inequality facing our Commonwealth and our nation, and the VBA is pleased to partner with Norfolk State University to bring attention to these issues and inform Virginia’s electorate.”

City of Norfolk Mayor Kenneth Alexander, Ph.D., said he is excited the historic debate will take place at Norfolk State University. “The events of this year have called significant attention to the importance of equity, justice and transforming lives through service,” Alexander said. “We welcome Sen. Mark R. Warner and Dr. Daniel Gade as they discuss these and other issues that are critical to the future of the Commonwealth of Virginia and the nation.”

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic and social distancing guidelines, this event will be closed to the public and only invited guests will be permitted to the Wilder Center. If federal and state guidelines change regarding mass gatherings, the University will make accommodations to open the debate.

Norfolk State University is a comprehensive urban public institution committed to transforming students’ lives through exemplary teaching, research, and service. The University’s Center for African American Public Policy is a think tank, providing an unbiased and non-partisan research on public policy issues affecting African Americans and other peoples of color in Virginia and the United States. The Center’s mission is to empower minority communities, educate the public at large, and assist lawmakers by providing alternatives on issues involving African Americans and other communities of color. For more information about the debate, contact CAAmPP at (757) 823-8999 or email ewclaville