The Washington Post and MSNBC announced Monday that the Democratic presidential debate will be held at Tyler Perry Studios, confirming an Atlanta Journal-Constitution report that the showdown would be held at the $250 million complex.
The studio was selected for the Nov. 20 debate after jockeying that pitted Perry’s studio in heavily Democratic southwest Atlanta against the new performance arts center in Sandy Springs, once-solid Republican territory that’s become increasingly competitive.
Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms aggressively lobbied for the debate to be held in Atlanta and was said to be directly involved in the talks over the last week that helped seal the deal. She also helped lure the debate to Georgia.
The decision was a blow to some who wanted the event held in Sandy Springs to reflect the party’s push to fast-changing suburbs and to showcase U.S. Rep. Lucy McBath, who represents the area after winning the nationally watched race for Georgia’s 6th District last year.
At one point, Democrats were buzzing about a deal to locate the debate at the 1,070-seat three-level theater at City Springs, a mixed-use development that opened last year. But the suburb’s officials were recently told the site was no longer in the mix.
The November showdown, the first major political debate in Atlanta since 1992, will feature at least nine candidates and an all-female panel of four moderators.
It will also be a two-hour event rather than stretching three hours like the debate last month in Ohio.
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