ABC and Univision Will Co-Host the Third Democratic Primary Debate In Houston

By A.J. Katz 

ABC and Univision are co-hosting the third Democratic primary debate, another two-night affair set to take place on Sept. 12 and 13 in Houston, Texas.

Both networks will broadcast the debate in prime time, with Univision providing a Spanish translation of the festivities.

The debate will also be available on website and apps, as well as Hulu Live, Roku Channel and Facebook Watch.


Details on the format, venue, moderators and exact timing for the debates will be announced at a later date.

This debate will take place a month and a half after the most recent debate, which will be hosted by CNN on July 30 and 31. The gap between the two debates makes sense from a television standpoint, as August is traditionally the lowest-rated month of the calendar year. Both ABC and Univision will also have the luxury of promoting their respective fall programming during the two-night debate.

“As the nation’s most diverse city, Houston is the perfect place for the Democratic Party’s third debate. Leaders like Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee and Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner have been key to making Houston the world class city it is today,” DNC chairman Tom Perez said in a statement. “Like the people of Texas, our candidates come from all kinds of backgrounds, and are all united by their deeply held values. We’ve seen firsthand in Texas that organizing everywhere through the Texas Democratic Party has led to victories all across the state, including flipping a dozen state House seats and making the state more competitive than it has been in decades. Houston is the perfect place to showcase our candidates so that they can share their vision for a better future for the American people.”

Holding the debate in Texas is an interesting move.

From a television standpoint, it makes some sense. KXLN-DT in Houston is one of the Univision’s highest-rated stations. And fro a political standpoint– While there is indeed a Democratic presence in and around Houston, when it comes to presidential and senate races, Texas hasn’t elected elected a Democrat in decades. Beto O’Rourke came relatively close to defeating the incumbent Sen. Ted Cruz in the 2018 senate race, but to no avail.

In May, the DNC announced new, stricter qualifying rules that apply to the September primary debate, and the succeeding debate, slated to take place in October, will be hosted on a network yet to be announced (one would assume CBS?).

In order to qualify for the September and October debates, the DNC requires candidates must receive 2% or more support in at least four national polls, or polls conducted in the early-voting states of Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina and/or Nevada.

Each poll submitted must be publicly released between June 28 and Aug. 28 and be must be sponsored by one or more of the following organizations approved by the DNC: The Associated Press, ABC News, CBS News, CNN, the Des Moines Register, Fox News, Monmouth University, NBC News, The New York Times, National Public Radio, Quinnipiac University, University of New Hampshire, The Wall Street Journal, USA Today, the Washington Post, and Winthrop University.

To meet the grassroots fundraising threshold, candidates must have received donations from at least 130,000 unique donors over the course of the election cycle, with a minimum of 400 unique donors per state in at least 20 states. Qualifying donations must be received by the DNC by 11:59 p.m. on Aug. 28.