Texas Southern University (TSU) in Houston announced yesterday that it will be hosting the third Democratic presidential debate on September 12-13.
ABC News will be organizing and televising the debate.
Houston had been considered for the 2020 Democratic National Convention, but the party ultimately chose Milwaukee, Wisconsin.
In a press conference alongside Houston mayor Sylvester Turner, TSU President Austin Lane expressed his enthusiasm for the event.
Lane said the debate would give students “hands-on, real-life, up-close, and personal access to what they want to become.” Communications, Public Affairs, and Business students at TSU will have an opportunity to help ABC put on the event.
The TSU president is seeking an allotment of tickets for students saying, “Our goal is to get as many of our students inside that event as possible.”
Mayor Turner told reporters that the event would help publicize the city. “The social-media impressions will be by the millions,” he said.
Likewise, Lane said that the publicity for the university would otherwise cost millions of dollars in a marketing campaign.
“Between now and the event on the 12, we’re going to be, obviously, strategically and intentionally putting more and more of our brand out there in terms of what we do,” the university president said, noting how the school is the second-largest HCBU (historically black college and university).
Lane said that the university would do its best to remain politically neutral.
“As a state university, what we do is lease the space to ABC and we leave all of the political debates on each side to really the folks who are going to be there debating that evening,” said Lane. “We try to stay right down the middle and make this more about the leasing agreement than our own politics.”
In order to qualify for the debate, candidates must be polling above 2 percent and receive donations from 130,000 unique individuals.
Since the qualifications are double those set for the first Democratic debates of the season, the pool of candidates on stage are expected to be much smaller than in the first two debates.
The two Texas Democratic candidates, former Rep. Beto O’Rourke (D-TX) and former San Antonio mayor Julián Castro, have struggled to keep up the fundraising pace in comparison with others in the field.
Both candidates may have a chance to prove themselves in the polls after the second round of Democratic debates next week.
The July debates will be hosted by CNN on two different days, with the lineup randomly selected.
O’Rourke will debate on July 30 and Castro will debate on July 31.
Although yet to be determined, Lane said an announcement regarding tickets for the September debate should come in about a week.
Daniel Friend is a reporter for The Texan. While recently finishing his degree in Political Science from Azusa Pacific University, he also interned in the U.S. Senate and co-authored a book on C. S. Lewis’s science fiction trilogy. In his spare time, he might be reading up on Dostoevsky or attempting to write a novel.