As the new year fast approaches and we put 2015 to bed, the presidential election will kick into high gear on January 1, 2016. Below is a guide for the upcoming Republican and Democratic primary debates to get you set for the events coming up shortly after the ball drops. The Republican candidates will engage in two debates prior to the Iowa caucus, while the Democratic candidates will have just one debate.


Please check the actual debate schedule pages for updated information as we get into January.

Republican Debates

Thursday, January 14, 2016
Fox Business Republican Debate
Aired On: Fox Business Network
Location: North Charleston Coliseum in North Charleston, South Carolina
Sponsors: Fox Business Network, South Carolina GOP
Moderators: To be announced
Candidates: To be announced

Notes: The sixth Republican primary debate will likely see as few as six candidates on the main stage, relegating candidates like Rand Paul and John Kasich to the undercard round, according to criteria released by Fox Business Network on Tuesday evening. The Jan. 14 primetime debate will include the top six candidates based on the average of the five most recent national polls, as well as those who finish in the top five in Iowa or New Hampshire. Polls must meet Fox Business standards and be released before January 11 at 6 p.m. ET.

Thursday, January 28, 2016
Fox News Republican Debate
9pm ET (8pm CT, 6pm PT)
Aired On: Fox News Channel
Location: Iowa Events Center in Des Moines, Iowa
Sponsors: Fox News
Moderators: Bret Baier, Megyn Kelly and Chris Wallace
Candidates: To be determined

Notes: Fox News Channel announced Monday that the network will host its second Republican presidential primary debate next month in Iowa. The two-hour debate will be held Jan. 28 at the Iowa Events Center in Des Moines, the last meeting of the candidates before the lead-off Feb. 1 caucuses. The event will air at 9 p.m. ET on Fox News Channel, with coverage on Fox News Radio, Fox News Mobile and The criteria for candidates to qualify has not yet been announced. The moderators who hosted Fox News’ kick-off debate on Aug. 6 – Bret Baier, Megyn Kelly and Chris Wallace — will return for the Iowa event.

Democratic Debates

Sunday, January 17, 2016
NBC News Democratic Debate
9pm ET (8pm CT, 6pm PT)
Aired On: NBC
Location: Charleston, South Carolina
Sponsors: NBC, Congressional Black Caucus Institute
Moderator: Lester Holt
Candidates: To be determined

Notes: NBC News and YouTube will co-host the January Democratic debate in Charleston, South Carolina, and Lester Holt will moderate, the network announced on Wednesday. The debate, which is the fourth of six such events, will take place on Sunday, Jan. 17, and is hosted by the Congressional Black Caucus. The debate will take place from 9-11 p.m.

Please check the actual debate schedule pages for updated information as we get into January.

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Nate Ashworth is the Founder and Senior Editor of Election Central. He's been blogging elections and politics for almost a decade. He started covering the 2008 Presidential Election which turned into a full-time political blog in 2012 and 2016.

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