The New Hampshire Union Leader has announced that they will be hosting an additional Democratic debate days before the New Hampshire on February 4.
The Union Leader reported:
The announcement comes after 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. Such a debate has been held in New Hampshire before the primary in every cycle where there has been a contested election since 1984.
“Our readers have demanded a debate to help them see who is most fit to be the Democratic nominee for President,” said Joseph W. McQuaid, president and publisher of the Union Leader. “We were always concerned that this would have been the first time in 32 years without a Democratic debate before the New Hampshire primary. We are glad to partner with MSNBC to ensure Granite Staters have the information they need to make a critical decision on Feb. 9.”
“Meet the Press” host Chuck Todd and MSNBC anchor Rachel Maddow will moderate the debate, which will also include questions from local reporters, live on MSNBC in prime time on Thursday, Feb. 4.
The Martin O’Malley campaign said in a statement, “In keeping with the best traditions of the New Hampshire Primary, we have always believed that the voters of the Granite State deserve more than one opportunity to see their candidates for President debate side by side. That’s why Governor O’Malley was the only Democratic candidate for President to consistently call out the DNC for its unprecedented role in silencing debate, and to lead the charge for more debates. Today is a big victory not only for our campaign and our supporters that championed this effort, but it is also a victory for voters across New Hampshire and the United States. We look forward to participating.”
The good news is that Rachel Maddow will be moderating a Democratic debate. The bad news is that Chuck Todd will also be moderating a Democratic debate. The best news for Democratic voters is that they will be getting a debate on a weeknight in prime time right before the New Hampshire primary.
Conspiracy theorists will point to the DNC’s decision to add a debate in a state where Hillary Clinton as trailing as proof that they are trying to help Clinton, but the reality is that the DNC has faced a ton of criticism because of a debate schedule that has denied viewers a chance to see the candidates debate. The DNC has also been under pressure by the viewership numbers that the Republican debates are putting up.
The DNC has taken a major step towards righting a gigantic wrong. The addition of an extra debate is an admission that the original debate schedule was a mess. One extra debate is a good first step, but Democratic voters deserve more.