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First Democratic Presidential Primary Debate Set For Nevada


Nevada has been chosen to host the first Democratic presidential primary debate, which will take place in October. Reno Public Radio's Michelle Bliss explores why.

The Democratic National Committee made the announcement Thursday that Nevada will be among six states to host these primary debates. 

Fred Lokken teaches political science at Truckee Meadows Community College and has been studying state politics for decades. He says Nevada is one of about seven states that will ultimately decide America's next president.
"We are not a state that's solidly blue or solidly red," Lokken explains. "We are able to literally go either way, and most of the states in union--more than forty--have now basically wound up as either a blue state or a red state."

Fred Lokken teaches political science at TMCC and is a regular expert source for KUNR.

That's one reason. Lokken also cites Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid's influence over the Democratic Party and the fact that Nevada has an early caucus. And there's more:

"Nevada is kind of a microcosm of the 2016 presidential election topics," he explains, "everything from immigration to an economy that's coming back from the brink of the recession."

The other debates will be in Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina, Florida, and Wisconsin.

So far, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders, former Maryland Governor Martin O'Malley, former Virginia Senator Jim Webb and former Rhode Island Governor Lincoln Chafee are scheduled to participate in the officially sanctioned forums.


Michelle Billman is a former news director at KUNR Public Radio.
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