How to Prepare Your Candidate for a Political Debate - National Democratic Training Committee

How to Prepare Your Candidate for a Political Debate

By Morgan Harris
45 min
Messaging & Communications

What You’ll Learn

  • How to research moderators and opponents
  • How to prepare briefing memos for a political debate
  • How to physically prepare your candidate for a debate
  • How to run a debate dress rehearsal
  • How to debrief your candidate’s performance

Why This Is Important

As a member of the Communications Team, you’ll play a large role in ensuring that your candidate is ready to face their opponent(s) in a political debate. A successful debate appearance will give voters an opportunity to get to know your candidate, and provide an opportunity for earned media coverage, so it’s important to ensure that your candidate is prepared to face the debate stage. This course will provide you with a guide for how to properly research, brief, and prepare your candidate for a successful debate.

Key Resources

  • Political Debate Prep Worksheet
  • Talking Points Worksheet
  • Messaging Document Example

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Morgan Harris


Morgan Harris is founder and managing partner of Acacia Consulting Group. He has served as a communications consultant for campaigns of all sizes, including gubernatorial, congressional, state legislature, mayoral, and city council races. An expert in message strategy and delivery, he has more than 20 years of experience in public relations and marketing, handling clients including Walt Disney Pictures, Pixar, IFC Films, Netflix, Paramount Pictures, IFC Films, and Cirque du Soleil. Morgan lives in Chicago with his cats and his Netflix account.