Miami’s Adrienne Arsht Center to host October presidential debate

Adrienne Arsht Center Knight Concert Hall
The Arsht Center played host to the first Democratic primary debate of the 2020 cycle.

The Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts will host this year’s second presidential debate after the University of Michigan withdrew from hosting the event.

U of M was originally awarded the Oct. 15 debate, but pulled out Monday due to COVID-19 concerns.

The Commission on Presidential Debates now says the event will take place in Miami, despite Florida’s own recent rise in coronavirus cases. The debate’s format is still up in the air and may not feature an audience.

“The Arsht Center is one of the world’s leading performing arts organizations and venues,” a release from the commission stated. The Arsht Center described itself as “a leader in presenting innovative programming.”

The release also noted the debate format will be that of a “town meeting.”

The Arsht Center played host to the first Democratic primary debate of the 2020 cycle last June.

“As the chosen venue for yet another historic moment in the 2020 election, the Arsht Center is proud to continue to serve our community by hosting events that engage and connect people from diverse communities,” said Arsht CEO Johann Zietsman.

“We are honored to have the opportunity to represent Miami on the global stage and to play a small role in the democratic process.”

It’s unclear how the October debate between President Donald Trump and presumptive Democratic nominee Joe Biden would work, however, given the continued spread of the coronavirus.

Miami-Dade County is allowing theater venues such as the Arsht Center to reopen. The Arsht Center has not yet submitted a reopening plan to officials, however, and remains closed.

It’s also not clear exactly how that “town meeting” format would be conducted. Miami Mayor Francis Suarez said the debate may not feature a crowd.

“Right now, we are not in Phase 3 so I can’t see it today being hosted with people in the audience,” Suarez told POLITICO. “Impossible to predict where we will be on October 15.”

Another option would include allowing individuals to attend the debate with masks on. Those restrictions are yet to be finalized.

Ryan Nicol

Ryan Nicol covers news out of South Florida for Florida Politics. Ryan is a native Floridian who attended undergrad at Nova Southeastern University before moving on to law school at Florida State. After graduating with a law degree he moved into the news industry, working in TV News as a writer and producer, along with some freelance writing work. If you'd like to contact him, send an email to [email protected]


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