Debates among Democratic presidential hopefuls in this recent cycle have been raucous, knock-down drag-em-outs. The next one is likely to be a more staid affair.
CNN will move its planned coverage of the next Democratic debate to a studio in Washington D.C from a hall in Arizona, a nod to concerns about the growing spread of coronavirus. Meanwhile, one of the journalists scheduled to moderate the event, Univision journalist Jorge Ramos, will bow out, citing medical concerns.
“Out of an abundance of caution and in order to reduce cross-country travel, all parties have decided that the best path forward is to hold Sunday’s debate at CNN’s studio in Washington, D.C., with no live audience,” the DNC said in a statement Thursday.
“The DNC, CNN and Univision recently learned that Univision anchor and moderator Jorge Ramos was in proximity with someone who was in direct contact with a person that tested positive for coronavirus. Both Mr. Ramos and the person he was in contact with are in good health and symptom free. Despite being cleared by medical professionals and out of an abundance of caution, Jorge has decided to step aside from participating in the upcoming March 15 democratic debate. Univision’s News Anchor Ilia Calderón will moderate the debate in his place, said the statement, from DNC spokesperson Xochitl Hinojosa. “Our number one priority has and will continue to be the safety of our staff, campaigns, and all those involved in the debate.”
The studio setting and the fact that only two main candidates are left will likely give rise to a more formal, less frenzied affair. Former Vice President Joe Biden, who currently enjoys the lead among delegates, will vie with Senator Bernie Sanders. CNN’s Jake Tapper and Dana Bash are still expected to moderate the event.