The Democratic National Committee (DNC) announced their presidential debate schedule on Thursday, just hours before the Republicans begin their first debate tonight in Cleveland.
Six dates have been chosen, four of them occurring before the Iowa Caucuses on February 1.
- October 13 – Nevada on CNN
- November 14 – Des Moines, Iowa on CBS
- December 19 – Manchester, New Hampshire on ABC
- January 17 – Charleston, South Carolina on NBC
Two more debates will take place in February or March in Miami, Florida, on Univision (a U.S. Spanish-language TV network) and in Wisconsin on PBS.
While a small field may warrant less overall debate, any Democratic presidential contender not named Hillary Clinton wanted more opportunity to present their candidacy on national TV.
“It would be very foolish for the DNC . . . and bad for our prospects, for us to be the party that limits debates, circles the wagons and tries to prevent discussion of the issues,” said former Gov. Martin O’Malley after the dates were announced.
In order to qualify for a debate, Democratic candidates must be polling at at least 1% in three national polls, six weeks before the pre-determined date.
Out of the five declared candidates, only former Gov. Lincoln Chafee is polling below the 1% threshold in an average of seven national polls.[Politico] [RealClearPolitics]