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The University Star

The Student News Site of Texas State University

The University Star

The Student News Site of Texas State University

The University Star

Presidential candidates refuse TXST debate

Madeline Carpenter

The first of three presidential debates planned at Texas State on Sept. 16 may no longer take place.

On Nov. 20, 2023, the Commission on Presidential Debates (CPD) announced Texas State’s San Marcos campus as the first host site for the 2024 presidential debates. However, on May 15 the Biden administration sent a letter to CPD refusing its debates.

“The purpose of this letter is to provide notice that the President will not be participating in CPD’s announced debates in 2024 and plans to participate in debates hosted by news organizations,” the letter from the Biden administration stated.

Instead, on May 15 CNN announced Biden and Trump will debate on June 27 in its Atlanta studios, and ABC News announced the candidates will also debate on Sept. 10 in New York. However, Texas State said it is working with CPD to mitigate the changes.

“We are aware of the latest developments surrounding the presidential debates,” a Texas State email statement sent to The University Star said. “We are working closely with CPD as we assess the situation.”

President of College Republicans Carly French said the debate would give students the opportunity to actively be involved in the political process.

“Students are the future of the political realm and it kind of feels like the rug is being pulled out from underneath our feet if the debate gets canceled,” French said.

Similarly, President of College Democrats Averyann Guggenheim believes the debate would give students who are not usually involved in politics a chance to take an interest in it.

“For students already involved in the political process I do not see them being discouraged since this is what they do,” Guggenheim said. “But the majority of students are not and they would have really benefitted from the debate and understanding how democracy works.”

Executive Director of CPD Janet Brown said they have completed initial planning for Texas State to host the first presidential debate but have now paused the day-to-day work.

“The CPD is proceeding with work on all four 2024 debates scheduled to take place in September and October at universities selected in November 2023,” Brown said. “Thanks to excellent preparation over the last seven months, the university sites are well situated to pause daily work until more information about recent developments is available.”

In preparation for the debate, Texas State announced closures, incorporated debate classes, organized volunteer opportunities for students and initiated financial and safety planning.

There is no information from the university on where the preparations currently stand. However, the three summer classes created for the debate are currently in session and the other nine classes are still scheduled for the fall.

CNN announced its debate will be held with no live audience present “to ensure candidates may maximize the time allotted in the debate.” ABC News has not provided information on if the September debate will have an audience.

Both CNN and ABC News have announced the moderators for their June and September debates but CPD has yet to do so for its debates.

According to Brown, the CPD does not usually choose a moderator until August but it is still researching different people who could moderate the potential debate at Texas State.

“Holding the debates on campuses involves thousands of young people in their production and extracurricular programs, and promotes cross-generational debate-related conversations surrounding the communities…,” Brown said. “This should be a source of enormous pride for the U.S.”

The criteria for candidates’ eligibility to debate at CNN and ABC are they must file a Statement of Candidacy with the Federal Election Commission, appear on enough state ballots to reach 270 electoral votes, agree to the debate rules and format and receive at least 15% support in four national polls of registered voters or likely voters. CNN requires candidates who intend to debate to meet the requirements by June 20.

CPD’s criteria are the same except instead of four national polls, it requires five. Also, CPD’s deadline is on Sept. 2, allowing more time for third-party candidates to meet the requirements and debate at Texas State.

Brown said exit poll data showed more than 60% of the public finds the debates helpful in learning about the candidates and making voting decisions.

“The CPD’s debates belong to the public. They expect to see candidates debate in the two months leading up to election day and that is when they are paying attention to the race,” Brown said.

The University Star will update information as it becomes available.

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