MSNBC, NH Union-Leader To Host Unsanctioned Democratic Debate

This story has been updated.

MSNBC and the New Hampshire Union-Leader will host an unsanctioned Democratic presidential debate just days before the state’s first-in-the-nation primary, the newspaper confirmed Tuesday.

“Meet the Press” host Chuck Todd and MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow will host the Feb. 4 debate, scheduled five days before the state’s primary, BuzzFeed news first reported.

There was no word on whether Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) or former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton would participate, but former Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley said in a statement he would attend the debate.

Rep. Debbie Wasserman-Schultz (D-FL), chair of the Democratic National Committee, has been dogged by criticism over the party’s limited debate schedule, with opponents saying hosting only six debates amounts to a “coronation” for Clinton as the nominee.

Across the aisle, the Republican National Committee has announced a dozen debates so far, with 12 candidates still in the race.

Wasserman-Schultz recently defended the debate schedule in a Jan. 12 interview with Lenny, a newsletter founded by Lena Dunham. She said she was trying to prevent “an explosion of debates” like in the 2008 race, which featured 26 contests, including six head-to-head debates that pitted Barack Obama against Clinton.

BuzzFeed noted DNC rules prevent candidates who participate in unsanctioned debates from participating in the party’s official debates.

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