Have you ever wondered how politicians prepare for a debate, or whether they have any ‘debate day’ rituals to help get them in the mindset for the big day? Well as it turn out, there can be quite a bit that goes into prepping for a debate, especially one for a special election.

Both John Marino and Stephanie Hansen, the Republican and Democrat candidates for the 10th District Senate special election, feel that there is no better preparation than going door to door and getting the insight from the people the old fashion way, by having a simple discussion.

“I’m feeling good and looking forward to discussing the issues that we have in Delaware,” Marino said. “The state of our economy, the budget deficit, the tax increases we’re about to see, education, and the heroin epidemic are all key issues that the people of the 10th District have expressed concerned about.

“The heroin epidemic is especially concerning to me, and the citizens. Addiction is a disease, new born babies are being born addicted to heroin at staggering numbers. So, we need to redirect our focus from incarcerating people with a disease, and instead focus on providing more mental health and rehabilitation care.”

Hansen, who also described herself as “excited” to talk about the issues, also noted that the voters had expressed concern over the addiction epidemic and education.

“The top three issues I have been running on are jobs, education, and the addiction epidemic,” Hansen noted. “When I’ve had the opportunity to speak with the people they have also express that those areas are also their top three concerns as well, so I’m glad we are on the same page.”

Both candidates do have ‘rituals’ that they do before the debates, or big moments. For Marino, it is leaning heavily on his faith, “to give myself the confidence and knowledge to speak on issues that I’m truly passionate about.”

Hansen, on the other hand, has a long conversation with her father, to help put her in the right frame of mind.

“My father passed away in 2005,” Hansen explained. “That gives me time to think, become grounded, and brings me peace.”

One candidate that is flying under the radar, coming into the debate is Libertarian candidate Joseph Lanzendorfer, who currently works as credit card fraud detective.

“I'm fairly confident but still a bit nervous. This is my first time ever being a political candidate, and it will be my first debate,” Lanzendorfer said. “I'm probably the only candidate who had to get permission from their boss to take off work to attend the debate.”

Lanzendorfer plans to study, study, and study some more on the issues to make sure he is completely up to speed for anything the moderators may throw his way.

“I want to make sure I'm up to speed on all the issues, so that I can get all my points across eloquently in 60 seconds or less,” Lanzendorfer explained. “If I can do that, I'm confident that I can persuade a few minds.”

Lanzendorfer believes that some of the key issues that should be focused on are creating jobs, the legalization of cannabis and hemp, reducing taxing and licensing regulations on small businesses, improving education, and reducing the state deficit.

There are no special routines or rituals for Lanzendorfer on debate day, just the possibility of more studying.

“I'm not really the superstitious type, so the only pre-debate ritual I will be doing is more studying,” Lanzendorfer said. “Fate favors the prepared.”

The debate will be held Wednesday, Feb. 1, at Middletown High School, and will start at 7 p.m. The debate is open to the public, with seating available on a first-come, first-serve basis.