The nonpartisan Commission on Presidential Debates (CPD) on Nov. 20 unveiled four colleges and universities that will host the presidential and vice presidential debates for the general elections next fall.
The first presidential debate will take place at Texas State University at San Marcos on Sept. 16, 2024. The chancellor of the Texas State University System, Brian McCall, said the campus is the only Texas college to claim a U.S. president—Lyndon B. Johnson—as an alumnus.
"It's fitting that the only university in Texas to graduate a U.S. president will be the first university in Texas to host a presidential debate," Mr. McCall said in a statement.
"This is an exciting time at Texas State, and we can't wait to showcase our great university before a global audience."
Lafayette College, a private liberal arts college in eastern Pennsylvania, will host the first and only debate between vice presidential candidates on Sept. 25.
"It is a tremendous honor to host a vice presidential debate," said Nicole Hurd, Lafayette College's president. "We are delighted to open our campus for this important part of our nation's democratic process and help bring this debate to the American electorate."
The second presidential debate will be on Oct. 1 at Virginia State University (VSU), which said this is the first time a historically black college or university (HBCU) has been selected to host such a debate. The university's main campus, established in 1882, is 20 miles south of Richmond.
"We are honored and grateful to have been chosen as a host for a 2024 Presidential Debate," said VSU President Makola Abdullah. "This is a historic moment for our university and for HBCUs nationwide."
The University of Utah, based in Salt Lake City, will host the third and last debate on Oct. 9.
The debate format and moderators will be announced next year by the CPD, which has sponsored all general election presidential and vice presidential debates since 1988.
RNC Severed Ties with CPDIn fact, the Republican National Committee (RNC) unanimously voted in April 2022 to sever ties with the CPD, accusing the nonprofit group of being biased.
"The Commission on Presidential Debates is biased and has refused to enact simple and commonsense reforms to help ensure fair debates including hosting debates before voting begins and selecting moderators who have never worked for candidates on the debate stage," RNC Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel said at that time.
"We are going to find newer, better debate platforms to ensure that future nominees are not forced to go through the biased CPD in order to make their case to the American people," she said, noting that if "meaningful reforms" were not made, her party would stop nominees from participating in any CDP debate.
In response to frustration from the GOP, the commission said it "deals directly with candidates" who qualify for participation in its general election debates, rather than the national leadership of each political party.
"The CPD's plans for 2024 will be based on fairness, neutrality, and a firm commitment to help the American public learn about the candidates and the issues," it said at the time.
The RNC's decision followed grievances aired by President Donald Trump, who refused to participate in what would have been the second of three debates with his Democrat challenger Joe Biden in 2020 after the CPD insisted on making it a virtual contest in the wake of the incumbent Republican president's COVID-19 infection.
"I'm not going to do a virtual debate," President Trump said in an October 2020 interview with Fox Business.
"That's not what debating is all about," he said. "You sit behind a computer and do a debate, it's ridiculous. And then they cut you off whenever they want."