WASHINGTON (AP) — The nonpartisan commission that sponsors the formal election year presidential debates announced Tuesday that an October debate that had been set for Michigan will now take place in Florida.
The change comes after the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, determined it was no longer “feasible” to host the Oct. 15 debate, the Commission on Presidential Debates said.
The debate will instead be held at the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts of Miami-Dade County in Miami.
In a letter shared with the Commission on Presidential Debates, University of Michigan President Mark Schlissel suggested the decision was influenced by the work needed to prepare the campus for the fall semester during the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
“Given the scale and complexity of the work we are undertaking to help assure a safe and healthy fall for our students, faculty and staff and limited visitors — and in consideration of the public health guidelines in our state as well as advice from our own experts — we feel it is not feasible for us to safely host the presidential debate as planned,” Schlissel wrote.
Two other presidential debates and one vice presidential debate will proceed as originally planned.
The presidential debates are scheduled for Sept. 29 at the University of Notre Dame in Indiana, Oct. 15 at the Adrienne Arsht Center in Miami and Oct. 22 at Belmont University in Tennessee.
The vice presidential debate is set for Oct. 7 at the University of Utah in Salt Lake City.
There are contingencies in place for all of the debate sites, according to a person familiar with the matter who insisted on anonymity to discuss planning. The person noted that large performing arts venues that would otherwise be booked in the fall are available because the pandemic has led to the cancellation of so many events.
Associated Press writer Zeke Miller contributed to this report.