A sign outside Texas Southern University in Houston, site of the Democratic Party presidential debate, on Thursday, Sept. 12, 2019.
Photo: Tamir Kalifa/The New York Times
Photo: Tamir Kalifa/The New York Times

Atlanta in ‘very active’ negotiations to hold Democratic prez debate 

The double-header U.S. Senate races in Georgia next year might give the Democratic National Committee an extra incentive to hold a presidential debate in Atlanta soon.

Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution that she and other state Democrats are in “very active discussions” with the party to schedule a debate in Georgia. 

“I’m absolutely lobbying for it,” she said after the debate in Houston. “When you look at what’s at stake in Georgia – two Senate races – there aren’t many opportunities like that. To have that opportunity in Georgia, it only makes sense that we bring this field of candidates to our state.” 

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The party has already held three debates in Miami, Detroit and Houston, and the fourth showdown is planned for Oct. 15 in Westerville, Ohio. The schedule for the monthly debates has not yet been set for November or December, and the setting for debates in early 2020 is also unclear. 

But Georgia’s growing role as a 2020 battleground state could bolster the state’s argument. White House hopefuls have already made more than two dozen visits to Georgia, lavishing the state with far more attention than past presidential elections. 

And U.S. Sen. Johnny Isakson’s decision to retire at year’s end means two Senate contests will be on the ballot next year and guarantees that national Democrats will pour an unprecedented amount of money and attention into the state. 

“Georgia represents the future of the Democratic Party,” said Nikema Williams, chairwoman of the state party. “We would love to see national candidates debate the issues in front of the Georgia voters who will take us to victory next year.”

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About the Author

Greg Bluestein
Greg Bluestein
Greg Bluestein is a political reporter who covers the governor's office and state politics for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
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