Sanders, O’Malley privately discuss more Democratic debates
With both candidates displeased about the minimal schedule of six sanctioned Democratic primary debates, the two campaigns are colluding to possibly plan more events outside the scope of the Democratic National Committee. Doing so would have risks, such as the possibility of being barred from the official sanctioned debates, but it seems the campaigns are willing to call that bluff.
Report from Time:
Martin O’Malley’s campaign has reached out privately to Bernie Sanders about arranging debates outside the six contests allowed by the Democratic National Committee, risking the ire of the Democratic party in a bid to gain traction for his candidacy.
Dave Hamrick, the manager of O’Malley’s campaign, called Sanders’ campaign manager, Jeff Weaver, an O’Malley spokeswoman confirmed. The top managers for the two Democratic candidates discussed the DNC’s authority to determine the number of debates.
The DNC has sanctioned six debates before the Iowa caucus next year, the same number as in previous election cycles, but mandated that the candidates do not participate in any outside debates. [Emphasis added]
O’Malley and Sanders have both protested the limited number of debates this cycle.
“Over here on our side there’s no debate,” said O’Malley on Tuesday on New Hampshire radio, criticizing the DNC’s one sanctioned debate in the Granite State on December 19. “Right now, the DNC in a very strange way, unprecedented, never before, is telling the people of New Hampshire that the Democratic Party can only afford one debate that’s going to happen at the height of Christmas shopping season, which adds insult to the injury.”
A low number of televised events which don’t begin until October will essentially starve candidates, such as O’Malley, from screen time which translates into fundraising dollars. The Clinton campaign is content with six debates, and even argued for fewer. The question will be whether O’Malley and Sanders can get any worthwhile television coverage to go along with events outside the DNC approved schedule.