For the first time in more than three decades, an independent presidential candidate will be allowed to take part in a general election debate.
The Commission on Presidential Debates announced the schedule and requirements for the 2024 cycle on Monday. Three presidential debates are scheduled for:
- September 16, 2024, at Texas State University in San Marcos, Texas
- October 1, 2024, at Virginia State University in Petersburg, Virginia.
- October 9, 2024, at the University of Utah in Salt Lake City
A single vice presidential debate is scheduled for September 25, 2024 at Lafayette College in Easton, Pennsylvania.
To qualify for the debate stage, candidates for president and vice president must have polled at least 15% in national polls.
Less than ten months before the first debate, environmental lawyer and anti-vaxxer Robert F. Kennedy Jr. is averaging 16.7% latest RealClearPolitics aggregate.
In 1992, business tycoon Ross Perot was the only third-party candidate in modern times to hold a general election debate.
The CPD, which has monitored all general election debates since 1988, will determine which polls are considered qualified after consultation with experts.
Moderators and formats for the debates have not yet been announced. Each appointment is expected to begin at 9:00 p.m. ET and last approximately 90 minutes.
But it remains unclear whether the Republican and Democratic standard-bearers will attend.
Both leading candidates – former President Donald Trump (77) and President Biden (81) – do not seem to want to commit to asserting themselves on stage.
Spokespeople for both campaigns declined requests for comment from The Post, as did representatives from the Republican National Committee and the Democratic National Committee.
Tensions arose between the RNC and CPD during the 2020 election cycle, with RNC Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel accusing the commission of bias.
Trump famously skipped the second scheduled debate, protesting plans to hold it virtually after he contracted COVID-19.
Republicans also objected to the choice as moderator of then-C-SPAN anchor Steve Scully, who had interned for Biden in the late 1970s. Scully was subsequently suspended from C-SPAN after he lied about communicating with former White House communications director Anthony Scaramucci before the debate.
Trump has also skipped all three Republican primary debates so far this cycle.
The general election is scheduled for November 5, 2024.