RNC’s Antidote to Chaotic Primaries: Cut Debates in Half

Politico gives us a first look at the Republican National Committee’s debate schedule for the 2016 presidential primary schedule. Here’s the list, with a hat tip to the cats over at Politico for the breaking solid:

1. Fox News, August 2015, Ohio

2. CNN, September 2015, California

3. CNBC, October 2015, Colorado

4. Fox Business, November 2015, Wisconsin

5. CNN, December 2015, Nevada

6. Fox News, January 2016, Iowa

7. ABC News, February 2016, New Hampshire

8. CBS News, February 2016, South Carolina

9. NBC/Telemundo, February 2016, Florida

Three more are pending:

10. Fox News, March 2016, location TBD

11. CNN, March 2016, location TBD

12. Conservative Media Debate, date TBD, locations TBD

So, some interesting takeaways here while we’re on it.

First: obviously, the RNC is doing its darndest to rein in the debates. In 2012, it was a royal hot mess. Way too many debates, it was wearing the candidates out to the point where folks didn’t even bother showing up after a while. Logistically, it was a bit nightmarish. For those of us on the political observation deck, it was mad fun. We enjoyed every minute of it and are somewhat sad to see it halved. But, some had concerns that if you were a front runner and debating too much, you weren’t out there on the campaign trail; or, you had those concerned their candidate bosses couldn’t handle it (ahem Rick Perry). And you had establishment folks who were weary of these long shot candidates who were using the debates as free publicity time and a way to create embarrassing soundbites for competitors.

This seems changed in the list above. Other notables on the list: it’s a look at the states the GOP wants to dominate in 2016, especially spots like Colorado and Ohio. That Telemundo is on the list is worth noting as efforts continue to lock the Latino vote. And, looks like networks like MSNBC and BET or TVOne were completely snubbed.

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Charles Ellison

Charles Ellison is Politics Contributor for theRoot.com and Washington Correspondent for the Philadelphia Tribune. He can be reached via Twitter @ellisonreport