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DNC planning presidential primary TV debates for 2019: report

The Democratic National Committee (DNC) is in the “very early stages” of planning for a series of televised debates in 2019, a party official said Saturday.

The Associated Press reports that a DNC official says the party is planning for several debates to occur months before the first primary states of Iowa and New Hampshire vote.

{mosads}The move, directed by DNC Chairman Tom Perez, is meant to allow the party to effectively choose from a field of candidates that the AP reports could range as high as two dozen.

“The DNC’s goal is to have a debate process that is transparent, fair, impartial and inclusive,” senior party adviser Mary Beth Cahill told the AP.

Vice Chairman Michael Blake added to the news service that the party is studying the 2016 Republican Party primary for lessons to be learned about winnowing down a large field of candidates without appearing to play favorites.

“It’s hard with that many,” Blake told the AP. “Are we starting to talk about it and think about it? Yes. Are we anywhere close to resolved? No.”

The first Democratic primary debate of the 2016 election cycle was held in October 2015. During the primary, then-DNC Chairwoman Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-Fla.) was criticized by supporters of Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) for appearing to favor Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in the contest, and debate timing was scrutinized for the appearance of favoritism.

Wasserman Schultz eventually resigned as DNC chair just before the Democratic National Convention in 2016.

A large field of lesser-known Democratic candidates is expected in the 2020 election cycle, and prominent members of the party including Sanders, Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) and Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) are all thought to be considering runs for president.

The DNC is set to vote on proposals this weekend at the party’s summer meeting, including on a proposal supported by Perez to vastly reduce the influence of superdelegates in the party.

Tags 2020 Democratic primary Bernie Sanders Bernie Sanders Debbie Wasserman Schultz Debbie Wasserman Schultz DNC Elizabeth Warren Elizabeth Warren Hillary Clinton Hillary Clinton Kirsten Gillibrand Kirsten Gillibrand Tom Perez Tom Perez

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