Airing tonight, with fourteen confirmed Republican candidates, is the “Voters First Forum” sponsored by C-SPAN and various other media outlets including the New Hampshire Union Leader. The forum will be approximately 2 hours in length with each candidate getting seven minutes of question time with a 30 second closing thought. Each candidate will appear separately since this is a forum, not a sanctioned debate. Note that this forum is entirely separate from the first official Republican debate which happens on Thursday.
Schedule for Monday, August 3, 2015:
Candidates: Bush, Rubio, Cruz, Graham, Paul, Perry, Christie, Fiorina, Kasich, Walker, Santorum, Pataki, Jindal, Carson
Mike Huckabee and Donald Trump were also invited but declined the invitation.
Report from the Union Leader:
Add more TV and radio stations to the list who will broadcast the Voters First Presidential Forum next Monday night from St. Anselm College. Locally, WMUR-TV has followed NH1 News-WBIN in deciding to air the two-hour forum live from 7 to 9 p.m. And nationally, Hearst Television said all of its stations in markets across the country will air the forum as well.
C-SPAN will be the source broadcaster for the event, which brings together for the first time 14 of the individuals seeking the Republican presidential nomination. Four of those 14 will be excluded from the first sanctioned debate of the primary season, to be broadcast later in the week by Fox News. Fox is making its list from the “top 10’’ candidates in unspecified national polls.
The Voters First Forum has brought together an unprecedented list of news media in New Hampshire, Iowa, and South Carolina. It is being sponsored by the New Hampshire Union Leader, the Charleston Post and Courier, and the Cedar Rapids Gazette as well as WGIR and iHeart radio along with WLTX-TV in Columbia, S.C., and KCRG-TV in Cedar Rapids. It will also be carried by N.H. Public Radio and by New England Cable News.
Forum moderator Jack Heath of WGIR radio will ask questions of each of the candidates based on a random draw. The questions are being put together based on topics that readers and viewers in the three early voting states selected online. Associate sponsors such as the Live Free or Die Alliance hope to have their audience questions as part of the mix as well.
The forum, as noted, is a direct response to Fox News’ decision to limit their primetime debate on August 6 to only ten candidates. The forum will be a decent gauge on how the candidates intend to approach the debate on Thursday. Will they stick to the issues or feel the need to take shots at Donald Trump as the current frontrunner? That may depend on whether they take the chance or how the forum questions are framed.
We’ll have the full video of the forum after it airs on C-SPAN in case you miss it.