ABC News and CNN will host separate Republican presidential primary debates in New Hampshire next month just days apart from each other.
The two news networks had been eyeing the opportunity to sponsor a GOP primary debate. CNN announced this week that it will be hosting two debates next month: one on Jan. 10 at Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa, days before the Jan. 15 Iowa caucuses, followed by one on Jan. 21 at St. Anselm College in Goffstown, New Hampshire, two days before that state’s presidential primary.
In between those two forums, ABC News will host a GOP primary debate at St. Anselm on Jan. 18, the network announced Thursday.
“ABC News is excited to host this Republican debate with our partners in the nation’s first primary state of New Hampshire,” ABC News President Kim Godwin said, according to WMUR-TV, the ABC affiliate in Manchester, New Hampshire. “Our powerhouse political team has been working hard on this debate to provide our audience with the opportunity to hear from the candidates at this decisive moment in the primary race.”
The first four GOP debates each took place a month apart, so the three back-to-back forums will be a change of pace. And to set these debates apart further from the four so far, the CNN forums are not sanctioned by the Republican National Committee, Politico reported. ABC News did not state whether its debate is RNC-approved but confirmed it will be held in coordination with the New Hampshire Republican State Committee.
Candidates are not allowed to participate in debates outside of those approved by the RNC and would be banned from participating in future RNC-approved gatherings if they go against the rule. So far, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis is the only GOP presidential candidate who has indicated he would likely participate in the unsanctioned debates, according to Politico.
The RNC is expected to discuss officially removing the rule that bars candidates from participating in non-RNC sanctioned debates, CNN wrote in a press release on Thursday.