The Republican National Committee, seeking to minimize intraparty damage to GOP presidential contenders, announced nine primary debates for the 2016 election cycle.
California will have the second debate, planned for September at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley and airing on CNN.
A statement released from the RNC’s winter meeting in San Diego said officials decided to limit the number of debates by sanctioning no more than one debate per state. Party leaders have said that the large number of debates during the last presidential cycle – as many as 27 – left eventual nominee Mitt Romney bruised and battered as he faced off against President Barack Obama.
“By constructing and instituting a sound debate process, it will allow candidates to bring their ideas and vision to Americans in a timely and efficient way,” RNC Chairman Reince Priebus said in a statement. “This schedule ensures we will have a robust discussion among our candidates while also allowing the candidates to focus their time engaging with Republican voters.”
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State GOP Chairman Jim Brulte added in a statement of his own that the timing of the debate here “is a testament to the role California will play in the upcoming 2016 election.” In 2011, the Simi Valley stage served as the backdrop for Texas Gov. Rick Perry’s recent entry into the presidential race. Perry tussled with Romney and defended his remarks that Social Security amounted to a “Ponzi scheme” for future generations.
Two months later, in Rochester, Mich. Perry endured his painful “Oops” moment where he couldn’t remember the names of the government agencies he wanted to abolish.
Call Christopher Cadelago, Bee Capitol Bureau, (916) 326-5538. Follow him on Twitter @ccadelago.