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Official News From the Office of Communications

Belmont Selected as New Alternate 2016 Debate Site by Commission on Presidential Debates

Debate08 Banners on Curb Event Center

Decision comes following Wright State’s withdrawal

The Commission on Presidential Debates (CPD) announced today that Belmont University will now serve as the official alternate site to host a 2016 Presidential or Vice Presidential Debate. The news comes as Wright State University (Dayton, OH) withdrew from its hosting duties late last month, and first alternate Hofstra University (Long Island, NY) was tapped as the new host for the political season’s first presidential debate on Sept. 26.

Washington University (St. Louis, MO) and University of Nevada-Las Vegas  are currently slated to host the other two presidential debates this fall on Oct. 9 and 19 respectively, while Longwood University (Farmville, VA) will host the vice presidential debate Oct. 4.

“Belmont University served very successfully as a presidential debate site in 2008.  We are grateful that Belmont has agreed to serve as an alternate site this debate cycle, and our team would look forward to working with them if the need arose,” the Commission said in a statement.

Belmont University President Dr. Bob Fisher said, “Hosting the 2008 Town Hall Presidential Debate was a great honor for our campus, our city and our state, marking the first presidential debate to be held in Tennessee. I continue to enthusiastically support the work of the Commission in its mission of helping educate American voters and, in the process, creating a stronger democracy. While I sincerely hope that all goes as planned at the selected sites, we will work diligently to be prepared in the outside chance that we’re called on. I know the entire Belmont community welcomes the opportunity to contribute to such an important political process. ”

In addition to the confidence expressed in the Belmont team to host a debate again, Fisher also pointed out the immense support Belmont is receiving from city and state officials both in the application process and now with the news of the alternate selection.

Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam said, “Time and time again Belmont University has proven its commitment to its city and state by hosting community, cultural and educational events. The University has shown it can exceed expectations for a debate on this level, and this would be another opportunity to put the best of what Tennessee has to offer on display on this national stage.”

“It would be an honor for Belmont University and the city of Nashville to once again host a Presidential or Vice Presidential debate,” said Nashville Mayor Megan Barry. “Debates present an exciting opportunity for voters to move beyond speeches and ads and truly get an insight into how a candidate thinks, feels and will act under pressure. Belmont did an outstanding job hosting one of the Presidential debates in 2008, and as Mayor, I will do whatever I can to support the university’s efforts to successfully host another debate if given the opportunity.”

Belmont University was one of 16 sites nationwide under consideration for a presidential or vice presidential debate during this year’s election cycle. Belmont previously hosted the 2008 Town Hall Presidential Debate, moderated by NBC News’ Tom Brokaw, between then candidates Sen. John McCain and Sen. Barack Obama. The 2008 Town Hall Presidential Debate was the first and only presidential debate to date to be held in Tennessee.

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