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April 4, 2019

Hartford a finalist to host a 2020 presidential debate

PHOTO | HBJ File The Hartford skyline

Hartford is one of six cities being considered to host a 2020 presidential or vice-presidential debate, according to the Commission on Presidential Debates.

The nonprofit, which has sponsored and produced the debates since 1988, on Wednesday listed Hartford among six potential hosts for next year. Hartford is the only finalist location in the Northeast, and also the only city that was named.

Others locations include Belmont University in Nashville, Tenn., Creighton University in Omaha, Neb., University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, Mich., University of Notre Dame in Notre Dame, Ind., and the Utah Debate Commission and the University of Utah in Salt Lake City, Utah.

The commission had filed a request for proposals on Jan. 2 with a deadline to submit on Tuesday.

The RFP calls for a minimum 15,000-square-foot debate hall with air conditioning, a large parking area close to the debate hall for 40 television remote trucks, trailers or satellite trucks and a media filing center located in the same facility as the hall or adjacent to the space that is at least 20,000 square feet.

Other requirements include nearby hotels with 3,000 rooms, media parking to accommodate about 500 vehicles, and a financial contribution (the commission didn’t disclose an amount).

The Capital City last hosted a debate in the presidential race featuring Bill Clinton vs. Bob Dole in Oct. 1996 at then Bushnell Theater.

Aired on CNN, the Hartford debate in 1996 drew more than 46 million television viewers, according to Nielsen Media Research.

Watch the 1996 presidential debate here

This story has been updated

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