Arizona to host Dem presidential debate in March

Sen. Bernie Sanders at the General Motors Detroit-Hamtramck assembly plant, Sept. 25, 2019. Photo by Andrew Roth | Michigan Advance

Phoenix will be hosting a Democratic presidential debate on March 15, but details about where exactly the debate will be held are not yet available. 

Univision and CNN will host the eleventh presidential debate, which will take place just two days before voting ends in Arizona’s primary election. 

This would be the first presidential debate hosted by the state since 2012 when Republican candidates debated in Mesa.

It is unclear who exactly will be on the debate stage in March, as 14 states are conducting their own primary elections between now and then. The qualification criteria will be announced as the debate draws nearer, the Democratic National Committee said.

Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders has won in Iowa and New Hampshire, the only two states to have had primaries or caucuses so far. 

“I personally want to thank Phoenix Mayor Kate Gallego, Senator Kyrsten Sinema, members of Congress Ruben Gallego and Greg Stanton, and the Congressional Hispanic Caucus for their assistance throughout the selection process,” Democratic National Committee Chair Tom Perez said in a statement announcing the debate.

Arizona Democratic Party spokesman Matt Grodsky praised the decision to host a debate in the Grand Canyon State.

“Arizona is a battleground state, and voters are ready to elect leaders who will put them first,” he said in a written statement.

In November, the Phoenix mayor and the Arizona Democratic Party began lobbying for a debate in Arizona. 

In 2004, Arizona hosted a general election presidential debate between President George W. Bush and Democratic nominee John Kerry at ASU in Tempe. 

The Mirror will update this story as more information becomes available.

***UPDATED to include comments from the Arizona Democratic Party