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Eleventh Democratic presidential debate to be held in Phoenix

The 11th Democratic presidential primary debate will be held in Phoenix on March 15, the Democratic National Committee (DNC) and the political action committee CHC BOLD announced on Friday. 

The debate, which will be hosted by CNN and Univision, will take place just two days before Democrats in Arizona and three other states — Florida, Illinois and Ohio — head to the polls to cast their ballots in their party’s presidential nominating contest. 

A Democratic presidential candidate hasn’t won a general election in Arizona since 1996, when former President Clinton carried the state after losing it four years earlier. 

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But Arizona’s political leanings have shown signs of shifting in recent years. Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.) beat Sen. Martha McSally (R-Ariz.) in a closely contested election in 2018. That same year, Democrat Ann Kirkpatrick flipped the state’s 2nd Congressional District, which had previously been represented by McSally.

This year, Democrat Mark Kelly, a retired astronaut, is looking to unseat McSally, who was appointed to fill the seat of the late Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) in 2018 after losing her Senate race to Sinema.

“Arizona is a battleground state and it’s clear Democrats can win here at every level of the ballot. After historic Democratic victories in 2018, we’re putting the Republicans on defense in the Grand Canyon State,” DNC Chairman Tom Perez said in a statement announcing the location of the presidential debate.

“This debate will showcase our Democratic presidential candidates, highlight Trump’s record of broken promises and make it clear that Democrats are fighting to give Arizonans a better future,” he added.

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