Several 2020 Dems say they’re ready to face Fox News town hall

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Several 2020 Democratic presidential candidates are willing to face a Fox News town hall following Sen. Bernie Sanders’s (I-Vt.) popular appearance at one such event on Monday night.

The Vermont lawmaker and 2020 White House hopeful’s town hall drew more than 2.55 million viewers, making it the most-watched town hall of this campaign cycle so far. 

Although Fox’s viewership leans conservative, the crowd at the event seemed supportive of Sanders’s progressive policies.

{mosads}The audience at one point erupted in cheers and applause when host Bret Baier asked if they would support Sanders’s “Medicare for All” proposal.

The town hall came after the Democratic National Committee barred Fox News from hosting a Democratic presidential primary debate because of the network’s reportedly close ties to the Trump administration. DNC Chairman Tom Perez said Monday that the party is not reconsidering its decision.

However, Democratic candidates are not precluded from appearing on Fox News for interviews or town halls, and several presidential hopefuls have made appearances on the network in an effort to appeal to a broader range of voters.

Here are the 2020 candidates and likely candidates who say they would consider participating in a Fox News town hall.

Mayor Pete Buttigieg

A spokesperson for Buttigieg, the mayor of South Bend, Ind., who has been surging in fundraising and polling, told The Hill on Tuesday that the campaign is in talks with Fox News about appearing in a town hall event on the network.

“Reaching out to the Fox audience is something we intend to do,” the spokesperson added.

Andrew Yang

Yang, an entrepreneur who has never held public office, said after Sanders’s town hall that he would be “happy” to appear in one.

“For what it’s worth I’d be happy to do a Town Hall on @FoxNews or @MSNBC,” Yang tweeted. “Or just about any other platform that would reach a large number of Americans. The whole point is to reach as many Americans as possible.”

Rep. Tim Ryan (D-Ohio)

A spokesperson for Ryan, who entered the race earlier this month, told The Hill on Tuesday that the campaign had been in contact with Fox News about a town hall.

“Congressman Ryan is willing to do a town hall with Fox News, and the campaign has reached out proactively to the network to express interest in this type of forum,” campaign communications director Julia Krieger said.

“They have also reached out to our campaign,” she added.

Former Rep. John Delaney (D-Md.)

Delaney, who regularly appears on Fox News, “would welcome the opportunity” to appear in a town hall hosted by the network, a spokesperson told The Hill.

“John believes in talking to voters everywhere, everywhere on the ideological spectrum and everywhere geographically, and regularly goes on Fox News,” campaign communications director Will McDonald said. “We would welcome the opportunity to do a Fox News town hall.” 

Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-Calif.)

Swalwell has “said he’s willing to appear on a Fox town hall,” a spokesperson for his campaign told The Hill.

The California lawmaker previously said he makes efforts to appear on the network.

Sen. Michael Bennet (D-Colo.)

Bennet has not yet made a final decision on a 2020 presidential bid, which he has said he will pursue if he beats his recent prostate cancer diagnosis.

If the Colorado lawmaker runs, “he would consider participating in a Fox News town hall,” a spokesperson for Bennet told The Hill.

Former Sen. Mike Gravel (D-Alaska)

The 88-year-old former Alaska senator, who has said he is campaigning solely to introduce important ideas on the presidential debate stage, was noncommittal.

“Would we consider an appearance on a town hall? For atypical reasons: We don’t want to court voters — we want to smash the Overton window. We want to put radical, new ideas on the radar,” Kathryn Kohn, communications director for Gravel’s campaign, told The Hill.
“A town hall would give us the space to engage with ideas freely, expand the discourse, and advocate for our radical ideals with voters and not bad-faith talk show hosts. If we’re not constrained by 10 minutes of loaded questions on a cramped set, we have the room to freely advocate for an end to war, and end to violence abroad and an end to the injustice that plagued us at home.”

The Hill has reached out to the campaigns of Sens. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), Kamala Harris (D-Calif.), Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) and Cory Booker (D-N.J.), Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-Hawaii), former Rep. Beto O’Rourke (D-Texas), Washington Gov. Jay Inslee (D), former Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper (D), Miramar, Fla., Mayor Wayne Messam (D), former Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julián Castro (D), and author Marianne Williamson.

The Hill also reached out to potential candidates former Vice President Joe Biden, former Georgia House Minority Leader Stacey Abrams (D) and former Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe (D).

Tags Amy Klobuchar Andrew Yang Bernie Sanders Beto O'Rourke Cory Booker Elizabeth Warren Eric Swalwell Fox News Jay Inslee Joe Biden John Delaney John Hickenlooper Kirsten Gillibrand Marianne Williamson Michael Bennet Pete Buttigieg Tim Ryan Tom Perez Tulsi Gabbard Wayne Messam

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