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For the first time this year, 12 qualifying Democratic candidates are set to take a single debate stage in Ohio. Erin Burnett and Anderson Cooper of CNN are expected to moderate the event, as well as The New York Times’ national editor, Marc Lacey. It will be held on the campus of Otterbein University in Westerville, Ohio.
No other Democratic debate this year has allowed for more than 10 candidates on stage at once. There was speculation as to whether the debate would stretch over one night or two, but the Democratic National Committee ultimately decided that one night would be most effective, according to The Columbus Dispatch. While they did not provide an estimate as to how long the debate would last, the previous one-night event stretched over three hours.
Michael Grynbaum of the New York Times believes that having all 12 candidates on stage at the same time could prove to be an unwieldy process, as jealousy from candidates may lead to cross-talk, which has proven to be an issue in past debates. Seeing as this could be the last chance for undercard candidates to make themselves heard, there will likely be many points of interruption. But at this point in the election process, it may be best to see everyone at once.
“Our goal has always been to expand viewership, and we also believe that one night worked well for this last debate,” a Democratic National Committee official told CNN.
“We’re at a point where voters want to see all the candidates, particularly the leading candidates, on the stage at the same time,” Ohio Democratic Chairman David Pepper told The Columbus Dispatch.
The debate will take place on Oct. 15. It is due to include all 10 of the candidates who appeared on the stage last month in Houston, in an event that garnered over 14 million viewers. The Houston debate was the first to simultaneously feature both of the leading Democratic candidates, former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. and Senator of Massachusetts Elizabeth Warren. In addition to these 10 candidates, Representative Tulsi Gabbard of Hawaii and Tom Steyer, a former hedge fund investor, also qualified to appear in this upcoming debate.