CNN will be airing a “town hall” event live from Drake University in Iowa coming up on Monday, January 25. This event was not previously scheduled anywhere and appears to have taken shape in the past 48 to 72 hours. While not an official debate, since the candidates will appear separately answering questions from voters, this forum will be broadcast live in primetime on CNN and on local broadcast channels in Iowa.
Report from CNN:
The Democratic presidential hopefuls will face voters in a CNN town hall on Monday in Des Moines — one week before the highly anticipated Iowa caucuses.
Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, former Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley and Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders will field questions from Iowa Democrats in this prime-time event hosted by the Iowa Democratic Party and Drake University.
“We are honored to partner with CNN on their town hall with our three fantastic Democratic candidates,” said Dr. Andy McGuire, chair of the Iowa Democratic Party. “With this event airing just one week before the first-in-the-nation Iowa caucuses, it’s an incredible opportunity for Iowans to see our candidates detail their plans to move our country forward and their vision for Iowa and the nation.”
The town hall, which will be moderated by CNN anchor Chris Cuomo, will air from 9 p.m.-11 p.m. ET, the network announced. A CNN spokesperson added that it will make the town hall available to its Iowa affiliates to air live.
There is some speculation that this event was added to the schedule due to Hillary Clinton’s lagging poll numbers in Iowa. She’s currently leading by just 4 points on average as of the time this was written.
The format of the “town hall” will be much more controlled than a debate where candidates have the opportunity to interact with each other. At this event, the candidates will each get separate time fielding questions from the moderator and from Iowa voters. The candidates will not appear on stage together.
The only Democratic debate which was held in Iowa up to this point was back in November.