Democratic presidential candidates Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton have agreed to take part in four more debates, the national party confirmed on Wednesday.
According to reporting, the first debate will take place in New Hampshire Thursday evening and will air on MSNBC; the second will be held in the embattled Flint, Michigan in March; the next in Pennsylvania in April; and the final showdown will be held in California in May.
These come in addition to the previously scheduled debates on February 11 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin and on March 9 in Miami, Florida.
The Sanders campaign pushed for an additional debate in New York City, but the Clinton camp has declined that location.
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The Democratic National Committee (DNC) has come under fire this primary season for scheduling too few debates during obscure viewing times, which critics said was done intentionally to help Clinton. Just last week, the party refused to sanction the New Hampshire debate.
The extended debate schedule was announced after Sanders surprised many and nabbed a virtual tie with Clinton in Monday’s Iowa caucus, perhaps indicating that the Democratic contest would extend much longer than the party initially anticipated.
“This is pretty significant,” wrote the Washington Post‘s Greg Sargent, “because the previously announced schedule would have meant there were only two more debates happening. That had become increasingly untenable, now that we’re looking at serious, competitive, protracted primary, and instead, we may now get six more debates.”
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