Democrats approve six presidential primary debates – USA TODAY
The Democratic National Committee said it will sanction six presidential primary debates starting this fall, including one event each in Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada and South Carolina.
“We’ve always believed that we could have a competitive primary process, and that debates would be an important part of that process,” DNC Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz said Tuesday. “Our debate schedule will not only give Democratic voters multiple opportunities to size up the candidates for the nomination side-by-side, but will give all Americans a chance to see a unified Democratic vision of economic opportunity and progress — no matter whom our nominee may be.”
Each of the four early presidential nominating states will host a sanctioned debate, plus there will be two more under the DNC plan. The sponsors will be a combination of state parties, local and national media, digital platforms and civic organizations.
The DNC, like its Republican counterpart, is seeking exclusivity from Democratic presidential candidates. If a candidate participates in a non-sanctioned debate, he or she would lose the ability to participate in those backed by the DNC.
Hillary Clinton tweeted she is “looking forward to a real conversation” during debates, but the former secretary of State has not yet agreed on any details.
The debate stage will include Clinton and Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont, an independent who is seeking the Democratic nomination. Martin O’Malley, Jim Webb and Lincoln Chafee are also exploring presidential races but have not yet declared their candidacies.
The Republican National Committee has announced a schedule for at least nine debates, starting this August in Cleveland. There could be as many as 12 debates, or about half the number that were hosted by various party groups and broadcast partners in 2012.