MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WIAT) — Republican presidential candidates will take the debate stage Wednesday night in Miami but will face off in Tuscaloosa just four weeks later.
Dec. 6 will be the first time Alabama ever hosts a Republican presidential debate, according to the Alabama Republican Party Chairman.
“The Alabama Republican Party is super excited about the potential of having the fourth debate in Tuscaloosa,” ALGOP Chairman John Wahl said.
Wahl says the party has been planning this alongside the Republican National Committee for months. He is excited to see it come to fruition.
“Alabama is the perfect spot for a presidential primary debate, and there’s a lot of reasons for that,” Wahl said. “But when you think about the values of the Republican party and the values that, kind of the issues that are important to Republican voters across the country, what state better embodies that than Alabama?”
Political analyst Steve Flowers says this will be good exposure for Alabama, especially as it’s so close to the primary.
“I think us being a Republican state and the Republican primary being March 5 gives credence to Alabama being a location for the debate. March 5 is right around the corner. And we will be one of the major states in the super primary,” Flowers said.
To participate in the December debate, candidates must have at least six percent support in two approved national polls, or six percent in one poll from two separate early-voting states. They also need at least 80,000 unique donors.
A spokesperson for the University of Alabama, Alex House, confirmed that it is considered a potential site for the debate but says that no formal agreement has been made yet.
She said in a statement:
“As a public institution, UA promotes free speech and facilitates numerous opportunities for civil discourse and presentation of diverse ideas. If this event is later confirmed, our campus would be pleased to serve as a neutral site for the debate, and hosting the event would not be an endorsement of any candidate or political party.”
Wahl says to expect an official venue announcement “very soon.”