Republican presidential candidates will debate at least nine times in the 2016 election cycle, starting in August, the Republican National Committee announced Friday.
The schedule, which features a debate each month until March 1, and leaves open the possibility of three more after that, is designed to avoid the 2012 debate-of-the-week endurance test .
The first debate will be sometime in August in Ohio. The RNC would like to hold it in Cleveland, site of their July 2016 convention ,but that hasn’t been decided yet. Fox News will host the debate.
Networks will sponsor the debates, and they’ll be able to decide the format, participants and questioners.
These debates are termed "sanctioned" debates. Anyone participating in a non-sanctioned debate won’t be allowed to participate in one of the RNC-endorsed events.
After the Ohio debate, next up will be a CNN-sponosored debate in California.
Following that, the lineup includes:
--October, Colorado, CNBC.
--November, Wisconsin, Fox Business.
--December, Nevada, CNN
--January 2016, Iowa, Fox News
--February 2016 (three debates)....New Hampshire, ABC News; South
Carolina, CBS News and Florida, NBC/Telemundo.
Currently, Iowa is expected to hold the first caucus, probably February 1. New Hampshire would hold its primary eight days later. South Carolina and Nevada would also vote in February.
Republicans see a "Super Tuesday" March 1 with as many as 20 states, with more to follow later in the month. The RNC announcement allows three more debates in March. Sponsors would include Fox News, CNN and conservative media.