Des Moines to host Democratic debate

Source: By Des Moines Register • Posted: Monday, August 10, 2015

A nationally televised prime-time debate among Democratic presidential candidates will be held at Drake University in Des Moines on Saturday, Nov. 14, the Democratic National Committee announced Thursday.

CBS News and KCCI-TV are sponsors, in conjunction with The Des Moines Register.

The debate in Des Moines will be the Democratic National Committee’s only sanctioned presidential candidate debate in Iowa before Feb. 1, when the Iowa caucuses kick off presidential voting. The Iowa Democratic Party will serve as debate co-host, with the Democratic National Committee.

“We’re extremely pleased The Register will be a partner in this debate,” said Amalie Nash, the Register’s executive editor and vice president for news and engagement. “We all know how important debates are in the democratic process as voters continue gathering information and making decisions. The Register has a long history of involvement in presidential debates, and this is a critical piece in our overall effort to provide Iowans with the best, most comprehensive coverage leading up to the caucuses.”

The Democratic Party had previously announced plans for six debates, starting in Nevada, followed by debates in the other early-voting states of Iowa, New Hampshire, and South Carolina, and then Florida and Wisconsin.

“The Iowa Democratic Party is honored to be co-hosting a Democratic presidential debate on November 14,” said Dr. Andy McGuire, chair of the Iowa Democratic Party. “With our first-in-the-nation Iowa caucuses just months away, the debate will be a great opportunity for Iowans to hear directly from our Democratic presidential candidates about pressing issues facing our country.”

The debate will take place at Drake’s Sheslow Auditorium.

“We are honored to again play a central role in the presidential election process,” said Drake University President Earl F. Martin. “As Des Moines’ largest private university, we believe we have a core responsibility to promote civil dialogue and serve as a hub for civic and political engagement. From our location in Iowa’s capital, we are proud to have developed a reputation as the capital of the Iowa caucuses.”

The exact time and moderators have yet to be announced.

The Register has sponsored 10 presidential debates since 1980. In 1988, 2002 and 2008, when both parties had competitive races, the newspaper sponsored debates for both sides. No Register debate was held in 1992, because President George H.W. Bush did not have a Republican challenger and the favorite-son candidacy of U.S. Sen. Tom Harkin meant no other Democratic candidates aggressively campaigned here.