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RNC votes to withdraw from the...

RNC votes to withdraw from the Commission on Presidential Debates

By: Anne Summerhays - April 14, 2022

“We’re not walking away from the debates, we will have debates; it just won’t be under their platform,” MSGOP Chairman Bordeaux says.

On Thursday, the Republican National Committee (RNC) voted unanimously to withdraw from the Commission on Presidential Debates (CPD), which is responsible for organizing presidential debates. The decision will prevent its presidential nominees from participating in events organized by the CPD.

Ronna McDaniel

“Debates are an important part of the democratic process, and the RNC is committed to free and fair debates. The Commission on Presidential Debates is biased and has refused to enact simple and commonsense reforms to help ensure fair debates including hosting debates before voting begins and selecting moderators who have never worked for candidates on the debate stage,” GOP Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel said in a statement.

McDaniel continued, adding that the RNC voted to withdraw from the “biased CPD,” and that they intend to find newer, better debate platforms to ensure that future nominees are not forced to go through the biased CPD in order to make their case to the American people.

Frank Bordeaux

Mississippi Republican Party Chairman Frank Bordeaux told Y’all Politics on Thursday that the RNC is not walking away from debates, but away from the CPD.

“We’re not walking away from the debates, we will have debates; it just won’t be under their platform,” Bordeaux said.

The Mississippi GOP Chair said that he, along with a lot of other members within the RNC were very hopeful that they would be able to come to an agreement with CPD.

“We have reached out and tried to work with them for over a year. The Chairwoman and leadership within RNC have continuously made efforts towards this,” Bordeaux said.

“Out of a lot of effort from the RNC and a lot of votes within RNC to try and negotiate in good faith to have free and fair debates for both sides we failed and so we’re going to move forward and hopefully they’ll come around and want to negotiate with us now,” Bordeaux continued.

Below are some examples the Republican Party cited as to what lead them to withdraw:

  • Waiting until 26 states had begun early voting before hosting the first presidential debate in 2020.
  • Making unilateral changes to previously agreed-upon debate formats and conditions, in some cases without even notifying the candidates.
  • Selecting a moderator in 2020 who had once worked for Joe Biden.
  • Failing to maintain the organization’s strict nonpartisanship, with a majority of its Board Members publicly disparaging the Republican-nominee.

Chairwoman McDaniel as well as RNC officials have asked the CPD to make changes to future debates to ensure they are fair and impartial.

In a January statement from Chairwoman McDaniel, she said that the CPD has repeatedly chosen debate moderators who exhibit bias towards GOP candidates:

“Steve Scully, who was chosen by the CPD to moderate a 2020 debate between President Trump and Joe Biden, was literally once an intern for Joe Biden. It came as little surprise to Republicans when Mr. Scully accidentally revealed prior to the debate that he was seeking advice on how to attack President Trump. In 2012, CNN anchor Candy Crowley interjected herself in the debate and falsely accused our nominee of lying. CNN’s Anderson Cooper even hosted a debate in 2016. These are just a few examples of individuals chosen by the CPD to moderate debates who we believed would be biased and later showed it in action on the debate stage.

As for Mississippi and how this decision affects the state, MSGOP Chairman Bordeaux said, “What’s good for Mississippi GOP is good for the rest of the GOP as far as presidential debates are concerned.”

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Anne Summerhays

Anne Summerhays is a recent graduate of Millsaps College where she majored in Political Science, with minors in Sociology and American Studies. In 2021, she joined Y’all Politics as a Capitol Correspondent. Prior to making that move, she interned for a congressional office in Washington, D.C. and a multi-state government relations and public affairs firm in Jackson, Mississippi. While at Millsaps, Summerhays received a Legislative Fellowship with the Women’s Foundation of Mississippi where she worked with an active member of the Mississippi Legislature for the length of session. She has quickly established trust in the Capitol as a fair, honest, and hardworking young reporter. Her background in political science helps her cut through the noise to find and explain the truth. Email Anne: