NBC News’ Lester Holt, Kristen Welker to Co-Moderate Third GOP Presidential Primary Debate

By Mark Mwachiro 

The third GOP presidential primary debate moderators have just been announced by NBC News. NBC Nightly News anchor and managing editor Lester Holt and Meet the Press moderator Kristen Welker will co-moderate the debate live from Miami on Wednesday, Nov. 8, from 8-10 p.m. ET.

Holt made the announcement during Wednesday’s edition of Nightly News. Hugh Hewitt, a conservative talk personality and host of The Hugh Hewitt Show on Salem Radio Network, will also be on hand as a co-moderator during the debate.

The debate will take place at the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts of Miami-Dade County, with the Republican National Committee announcing qualifying and participating candidates at a time closer to the debate.


Holt, who has spent nearly two weeks in Israel covering the ongoing Israel-War, is an experienced debate and town hall moderator. He previously moderated NBC News’ presidential town hall with then-candidate Joe Biden in October 2020 live from Miami. He co-moderated the first presidential primary debate of the 2020 cycle from Miami in June 2019, and a 2020 presidential primary debate from Las Vegas in February 2020.

Not only that, but Holt was the moderator of the first general election presidential debate of the 2016 campaign between candidates Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton.

Welker, who recently took over Meet the Press moderator duties, moderated the final presidential debate between former President Trump and now-President Biden on Oct. 22, 2020. She was the first Black woman to moderate a presidential debate since Carole Simpson in 1992. During the 2020 election cycle, Welker co-moderated the fifth Democratic presidential primary debate of the 2020 election cycle from Atlanta in Nov. 2019.

In 2015 and 2016, Hewitt served on the moderating panel for four GOP primary debates broadcast by CNN.

This will be the first Republican presidential primary debate held outside of the Fox News Media sphere. ​​Fox News and Fox Business hosted the first two GOP debates, with the latter sharing moderating duties with Univision.

Fox News’ Bret Baier and Martha MacCallum co-moderated the first GOP primary debate of this cycle, and Fox Business’ Stuart Varney, Fox News’ Dana Perino were co-moderators for the most recent debate, alongside Univision’s Ilia Calderón.