MANCHESTER, N.H., Jan. 26 (UPI) -- The New Hampshire Union Leader announced Tuesday it will partner with MSNBC to hold a Democratic presidential debate on Feb. 4 -- five days before the state's key primary.
The newspaper was dropped from an upcoming Republican presidential debate by its media partner, ABC News.
The move came after The Union Leader published more than one editorial critical of Republican front-runner Donald Trump, even after endorsing New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie for the Republican presidential nomination. Trump took credit for the decision to drop The Union Leader from the Feb. 6 debate.
Tuesday's announcement is a boon for Democrats, who have fewer prime-time debate opportunities to appeal to voters.
The new debate is also scheduled five days ahead of the New Hampshire primaries on Feb. 9. It will be moderated by MSNBC's Rachel Maddow and Chuck Todd. However, it is not sanctioned by the Democratic National Committee, which has come under fire from voters and candidates for scheduling few debates, mostly on weekend nights.
In its announcement, the Union Leader said the decision was prompted by "weeks of grassroots efforts by both undecided Granite Staters and supporters of the Democratic presidential candidates to have a final opportunity to hear from the candidates in a debate setting before voting begins."
Union Leader Publisher Joseph McQuaid said that without the new debate, it would have been the first time in 32 years that no Democratic presidential debate occurred before the key New Hampshire primary.
Without the addition of another debate, voters would not have heard from Democratic candidates for nearly a month before the primaries. The last Democratic presidential debate was Jan. 17.
By contrast, the Republican National Committee has scheduled a prime-time debate for nearly every week in February as primary season heats up.
The Union Leader has yet to endorse a candidate in the race for the Democratic presidential nomination.