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Push for More Democratic Primary Debates Continues

Michael Jolly

The fight continues to add more debates to the Democratic presidential primary calendar. There's even now an official coalition in New Hampshire focused on bringing another debate to the Granite State before the February primary.

The group, called New Hampshire Debates, includes more than 80 Granite Staters -- current and former elected officials, community leaders and activists. But the heart of the coalition is supporters of former Maryland governor Martin O’Malley, who's been the loudest voice calling for more primary debates. 

The Democratic National Committee has scheduled six debates in total, with only one in New Hampshire slotted for December 19 – the Saturday before Christmas. Candidates who participate in debates not sanctioned by the DNC could face penalties.

Members of the coalition say the DNC's rules, including a single New Hampshire debate scheduled a month and a half before Primary Day, “dishonors the New Hampshire Primary tradition,” according to a press release from the group.

“We are united in the cause of protecting our Primary and its tradition of debates,” said Jay Surdukowski, a Concord lawyer and one of O’Malley's top Granite State supporters.

The coalition says it plans to meet with media, non-profit organizations, and civic institutions to secure at least one additional debate before the New Hampshire Primary. 

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