Former Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley hasn’t yet entered the presidential race, but his camp today hinted that the six approved Democratic National Committee debates won’t nearly be enough.
The DNC announced today the DNC-sanctioned debates will begin in fall 2015 and be sponsored by “a combination of state Democratic Parties, national broadcast media, digital platforms, local media, and civic organizations.”
Early primary and caucus states of Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada and South Carolina will each host a sanctioned debate.
“While GOP debates the same failed policies, Democrats will debate how to help families get ahead. Looking forward to a real conversation,” Hillary Clinton tweeted.
“If Governor O’Malley decides to run, we will expect a full, robust, and inclusive set of debates—both nationally and in early primary and caucus states,” O’Malley spokeswoman Lis Smith said.
“This has been customary in previous primary seasons,” Smith added. “In a year as critical as 2016, exclusivity does no one any favors.”
Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) didn’t issue comment; his formal campaign launches May 26.
The DNC seems to be anxious to show that there will be competition in the Democratic Party primary, even though the committee announced Sanders’ run with a heavy dose of Hillary.
“We’ve always believed that we would have a competitive primary process, and that debates would be an important part of that process,” DNC chairwoman Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (Fla.) said in a statement. “Our debate schedule will not only give Democratic voters multiple opportunities to size up the candidates for the nomination side-by-side, but will give all Americans a chance to see a unified Democratic vision of economic opportunity and progress – no matter whom our nominee may be.”
“While a six sanctioned debate schedule is consistent with the precedent set by the DNC during the 2004 and 2008 cycles, this year the DNC will further manage the process by implementing an exclusivity requirement,” the committee said. “Any candidate or debate sponsor wishing to participate in DNC debates, must agree to participate exclusively in the DNC-sanctioned process. Any violation would result in forfeiture of the ability to participate in the remainder of the debate process.”