NBC News will broadcast two presidential debates from Florida in January, a week before the Florida and South Carolina primaries.
The Republican and Democratic debates, scheduled for Jan. 23 and 25, will air locally on NBC stations in Florida and nationally on MSNBC.
Debates come the day after New Hampshire’s first-in-the-nation primary on Jan. 22 and a week before the Florida primary, which was moved up to Jan. 29 from early March in a bid to give Florida voters more clout in the electoral process.
South Carolina is also holding a primary on Jan. 29, followed by 24 more states a week later.
The debate is co-sponsored by NBC, Leadership Florida, the Florida Press Assn. and Florida Public Broadcasting Service.
Letters have been sent inviting the candidates to participate, and debate sponsors are optimistic that with Florida’s 27 electoral votes at stake, they’ll get full participation from both parties.
“These candidates know all too well how important Florida is in selecting the next occupant of the White House,” said Sandy Cesaretti Ray, chair of Florida Public Broadcasting Service and general manager of WSRE Pensacola.