Breaking: Phoenix Democratic debate moved to Washington, D.C. over coronavirus concerns


There is a coronavirus outbreak in the nation’s capitol, just as there is here in Arizona.

Nevertheless, Democrats Move Debate From Arizona to Washington Because of Virus Concerns:

The Democratic National Committee has moved Sunday’s planned presidential debate between former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. and Senator Bernie Sanders from Phoenix to Washington because of concerns about the coronavirus, the D.N.C. announced Thursday.

A spokeswoman for the committee, Xochitl Hinojosa, said the debate, to be broadcast on CNN, would take place at the cable network’s Washington studio. The Democratic Party had already announced that the event would take place with no live audience or an assembled press corps.

The shift is the latest example of the way concerns about the coronavirus have affected the presidential primary. Both candidates canceled election-night rallies on Tuesday, and subsequently called off campaign events scheduled before the debate and next Tuesday’s primaries in four states, including Florida and Ohio.

Officials briefed on the discussions said it was agreed upon Thursday morning by the two campaigns and D.N.C. officials, who were only hours from dispatching more than a dozen staff members from Washington to Phoenix to begin preparing for the debate.

Washington was selected to host the debate because CNN has a studio in the capital and both campaigns and the D.N.C. have staff already in or near the city who would not have to travel through commercial airports to attend the debate.

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Ms. Hinojosa also said that the Univision anchor Jorge Ramos, one of the debate’s moderators, would not participate because he had been “in proximity with someone who was in direct contact with a person that tested positive for coronavirus.”

Mr. Ramos will be replaced by another Univision anchor, Ilia Calderón, Ms. Hinojosa said.

Bummer. Arizona is a victim of the coronavirus, in more ways than one.