Universities from around the country have been readying proposals for submission to the Commission on Presidential Debates (CPD) with the hope of landing one of three Presidential debates, or the one Vice Presidential debate, in 2016. Not to be out-done by the University of Virginia, Texas A&M is working on a proposal of their own.


Report from

Texas A&M University is putting the finishing touches on its bid to host a presidential debate in 2016, a move that could elevate Texas even more as a factor in the race for the White House.

Texas A&M and other interested sites across the country face a March 31 deadline to submit applications to the Commission on Presidential Debates, the private firm that the Democratic and Republican parties have entrusted to organize the presidential and vice presidential debates during the general election.

José Luis Bermúdez, Texas A&M’s associate provost for strategic planning, said the school has been pulling out all the stops as it readies its application. For months, a university working group has been preparing the bid with the help of members of the faculty, facilities and transportation staffs, athletics department and campus security.

“A lot of people have been putting a lot of work into this,” Bermúdez said. “The plans have been laid, and a lot of people have been working on this for a long time.”

Bermúdez said a debate would be a much-needed exercise in civic engagement in a state where voter turnout consistently ranks among the worst in the country. He and other officials think that goal will appeal to a commission that tends to put a premium on sites that can offer some educational value to their communities.

College Station Mayor Nancy Berry said her city and neighboring Bryan are fully behind the effort, with each of their city councils having passed resolutions in support of the application. The international attention the area stands to gain, she added, is “immeasurable and unquantifiable.”

It is an opportunity only Texas A&M appears to be taking advantage of for now in the state. No other Texas site has similarly publicized its interest in a debate, and the commission does not disclose the applications it has received.

The major disadvantage A&M may have is their size. The school may be too large since these debates are often awarded to smaller universities and colleges. That being said, there’s nothing that disqualifies them and they likely have a good argument to serve as a host given the logistical support a large school can provide.

We’ll know the results sometime this summer when the Commission announces their decision.