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.
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.