DNC announces six primary debates; O'Malley says party 'facilitating a coronation'

By Amy R. Connolly  |  Aug. 6, 2015 at 2:30 PM
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ATLANTA, Aug. 6 (UPI) -- Democratic presidential hopefuls will debate six times in the coming months, with the first hosted in Nevada on Oct. 13, the Democratic National Committee announced Thursday.

While the exact location has yet to be announced, CNN will host the firstof the half dozen debates that will be space out over roughly a five- or six-month period. DNC Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz said the debate schedule will allow voters to vet each of the five candidates, a far smaller field than the 17 running for the Republican nomination.

"This debate schedule will provide multiple opportunities for our candidates to engage in a rigorous discussion, not only with each other, but also to show the American people where Democrats stand," she wrote Thursday in a post on Medium.

"These debates will highlight the Democratic Party's policies, which will continue to strengthen the middle class, and we hope Americans across the political spectrum will tune in," she said.

The other five debates are as follows:

CBS, KCCI and The Des Moines Register in Iowa on Nov. 14

ABC and WMUR in Manchester, N.H. on Dec. 19

NBC and the Congressional Black Caucus Institute in Charleston, S.C. on Jan. 17

Two additional in either February or March: One by Univision and The Washington Post in Miami, Fla., and another by PBS in Wisconsin.

Almost immediately after the announcement, the O'Malley campaign blasted the DNC for "facilitating a coronation" for frontrunner Hillary Clinton. The prevailing thought is a smaller number of debates help the leading candidate.

"By inserting themselves into the debate process, the DNC has ironically made it less democratic," he said. "The schedule they have proposed does not give voters — nationally, and especially in early states — ample opportunity to hear from the Democratic candidates for president. If anything, it seems geared toward limiting debate and facilitating a coronation, not promoting a robust debate and primary process."

In addition to Clinton and O'Malley, Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, Virginia Sen. Jim Webb, former Rhode Island Gov. Lincoln Chafee and former Maryland Gov. are in the running.

The first Republican debate is scheduled to take place Thursday evening, hosted by Fox News in Cleveland.

Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham, Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, former Texas Gov. Rick Perry, former New York Gov. George Pataki, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum, neurosurgeon Dr. Ben Carson, Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, former HP CEO Carly Fiorina, former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul, Florida Sen. Marco Rubio and real estate tycoon, reality TV star Donald Trump and Ohio Gov. John Kasich have announced campaigns.

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