Presidential debate moving from Michigan to South Florida

Debate in 2020 Presidential Election will be held in Miami
Debate in 2020 Presidential Election will be held in Miami

MIAMI – Anticipation has been building for the 2020 Presidential Election, with former Vice President Joe Biden set to challenge incumbent President Donald Trump.

During the leadup to November, the candidates will face-off in several televised debates. On Monday, Local 10 learned that one of the upcoming debates is coming to South Florida.

The New York Times reported that the venue for the second presidential debate will be the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts in Miami, which Local 10 News has since confirmed.

The University of Michigan was initially set to host the debate, which would have been set for Oct. 15 in Ann Arbor, but Michigan is withdrawing from hosting.

The university is citing concerns about hosting large crowds during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Florida is once again expected to play a key role as a swing state in the 2020 Presidential Election. In 2016, Florida’s 29 electoral votes went to the Republican nominee, President Trump.

Last June, the Arsht Center hosted the first debates in the 2020 Democratic Primary.

“The Adrienne Arsht Center is one of the world’s leading performing arts organizations and venues,” the Commission on Presidential Debates said in a statement Tuesday. “Since opening in 2006, the Arsht Center, a 501(c)3 non-profit organization, has emerged as a leader in presenting innovative programming. The Center’s commitment to the arts includes support for an education program that serves nearly 60,000 children each year through initiatives such as Learning Through the Arts. This will be the second debate that the CPD has hosted in Miami: the first 2004 presidential debate took place at the University of Miami.”

Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos Gimenez confirmed that the Arsht Center submitted a plan for reopening to the county on Monday night, but it was missing some requirements listed in the New Normal Guide.

He said the center will submit a revised plan to the county.

“It is important to note that the Oct. 15th debate date is several months away, and we will continue to monitor our community’s COVID-19 numbers and adjust the New Normal rules and guidelines, as warranted,” the mayor said.

Johann Zietsman, Arsht Center President and CEO, said in a statement to Local 10 News that the facility will implement numerous new measures to keep people safe as concerns over the coronavirus pandemic continue.

“They include reinforced hygiene practices with Arsht Center staff, enhanced cleaning protocols and, likely, requiring guests to follow additional safety practices,” Zietsman said. “However, please note that any public location with multiple people present provides an inherent risk of exposure to COVID-19 and other communicable diseases. We encourage all guests to take precautions, as recommended by the CDC, to protect themselves and others in public spaces.”

Below is the CPD’s schedule for general election debates:

First presidential debate: Tuesday, Sept. 29, University of Notre Dame, Notre Dame, IN

Vice presidential debate: Wednesday, Oct. 7, The University of Utah, Salt Lake City, UT

Second presidential debate: Thursday, Oct. 15, Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts, Miami, FL

Third presidential debate: Thursday, Oct. 22, Belmont University, Nashville, TN

All debates will be held from 9 p.m. to 10:30 p.m.

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