The Democratic debate scheduled to be held in this Sunday in Phoenix will look a little different than originally expected.
Due to fears about the growing coronavirus threat, the Democratic National Committee recently announced there will be no live audience for the debate on Sunday, March 15th which will be the first head-to-head presidential debate between former Vice President Joe Biden and Sen. Bernie Sanders.
Those registered and planning to attend the live debate will no longer be allowed in. By eliminating the audience, debate organizers alleviate health concerns.
“The DNC has been in regular communication with local health officials and the Mayor’s office, which advised that we could proceed as planned. Nevertheless, our number one priority has and will continue to be the safety of our staff, campaigns, Arizonans and all those involved in the debate,” said DNC communications director Xochitl Hinojosa.
The debate is scheduled to take place at the Arizona Federal Theatre in downtown Phoenix. The event will air on television from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. Arizona time on CNN, CNN en Español, CNN International and Univision.
By still holding the event in Arizona, the party is showing how competitive the state has become a presidential battleground. Democrats have only carried Arizona in presidential elections once since 1948.
The debate comes just two days before Arizona’s Presidential Preference Election. The only two candidates who qualified for the debate are Sen. Bernie Sanders and former vice president Joe Biden.