WASHINGTON – The Commission on Presidential Debates announced Monday the dates and locations of three presidential debates for the 2024 general election.
The first debate is scheduled for September 16 at Texas State University in San Marcos, followed by October 1 at Virginia State University in Petersburg and October 9 at the University of Utah in Salt Lake City.
The only vice presidential debate will take place on September 25 at Lafayette College in Easton, Pennsylvania.
“The general election debates in the United States, watched live around the world, are a model for many other countries: the opportunity to hear and see leading candidates address serious issues in a fair and neutral environment,” said the Commission co-chairs, Frank Fahrenkopf and Antonia Hernández in a statement accompanying the announcement. “This tradition has been unbroken since 1976.”
The Biden campaign declined to comment on the announcement.
Kate Bedingfield, a former White House communications director and Biden 2020 deputy campaign manager, discussed the 2024 campaign’s non-committal position, saying it was “a good strategic decision to know who your opponent will be before you commit to it.” to debate him.”
“We know that the RNC has already withdrawn from the general election debates and of course Trump is not currently debating in the primaries,” she told NBC News. “The Biden campaign has yet to commit to a trial when there are so many unknowns — and the only thing we know is that his potential opponent lies unconcerned on a debate stage. You can wait and make a strategic decision as more comes into focus.”
Another source familiar with the Biden team’s thinking pointed to issues with the 2020 debates that the campaign will likely want to discuss with the commission through 2024, including whether and how moderators will review the candidates’ facts would review, as well as any assurances the Commission can give that there would be no repeat of the first debate of 2020, where the strict Covid safety rules appear not to have been fully enforced.
When asked for comment on the commission’s announcement, Trump campaign spokesman Steven Cheung said: “President Trump has addressed this in several interviews over the past year.”
The former president, who is leading his opponents in the polls for the Republican nomination, has chosen to skip every primary debate so far this election cycle. He previously sharply criticized the Commission on Presidential Debates, claiming the panel was “very biased” and “filled with Trump haters and never-Trumpers.”
The commission is a nonpartisan group that organizes debates to “provide members of the public the opportunity to refine their views on the candidates from which the next president and vice president will be selected in a targeted debate format,” according to the commission website.
In 2022, the Republican National Committee voted to require that Republican presidential candidates not participate in debates organized by the commission. In a statement about the decision last year, RNC Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel called the commission “biased” and argued that the group “has refused to implement simple and common-sense reforms to ensure fair debates, including the hosting of debates before Start voting and selecting moderators who have never worked for candidates on the debate stage.”
The RNC did not immediately respond to a request for comment Monday.
To participate in a debate organized by the Commission, candidates must be constitutionally eligible to serve as president, qualify to have their name appear on enough ballots in the states to have the opportunity to pass the Electoral College win, and at least 15% of the vote has an electorate supporting their election campaign, as measured by the Commission’s selected polling institutes.
The commission said it would announce further details about the debates, including format and moderators, next year.