2016 Presidential Debate Schedule

List of General Election Debates

Carole Simpson
News anchor Carole Simpson is seen here at right with Hillary Clinton. Simpson is the last woman to have moderated a presidential debate. Justin Sullivan/Getty Images News

The 2016 presidential debate schedule had the White House hopefuls sparring more than a year before the election for Presidential Barack Obama's successor. The first of more than a dozen debates in the 2016 presidential election cycle was held in August 2015 among the large field of Republican candidates seeking the party's nomination.

There were at least 23 presidential debates scheduled across the primary and general-election seasons, including 12 sponsored by the Republican National Committee and 11 by the Democratic National Committee.

The Commission on Presidential Debates also schedule three presidential debates and one vice-presidential debate in the run-up to the November 2016 general election, as it has done in years past.

General Election Debates

After voters of both parties chose their nominees - Republican Donald Trump and Democrat Hillary Clinton - the nonprofit and nonpartisan Commission on Presidential Debates scheduled three presidential debates before the 2016 election.

Here's the presidential debate schedule in the general-election:

  • Monday, Sept. 26, 2016: The first presidential debate of the fall campaign will be held at Wright State University in Dayton, Ohio.
  • Tuesday, Oct. 4, 2016: The first and only debate among the vice presidential nominees will be held at Longwood University in Farmville, Virginia.
  • Sunday, Oct. 9, 2016: The second presidential debate of the fall campaign will be held at Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri. 
  • Wednesday, Oct. 19, 2016: The third presidential debate of the fall campaign will be held at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Republican Presidential Debate Schedule

The Republican Party drastically cut its presidential debate schedule following the recommendations of a 2013 critique of its 2012 election losses; the report noted that the number of primary debates had grown from six in 1980 to 20 in 2012.

Wrote Republican National Committee spokesman Sean Spicer:

“Most observers concluded after the 2012 election that the packed debate schedule was a disservice to the candidates — and, more important, to the voters. The schedule kept candidates off the campaign trail, robbing them of time that otherwise could have been spent meeting with voters, listening to their concerns and trying to earn their support."

The Republican National Committee sanctioned a dozen presidential debates in the 2016 primary cycle. Here's when the GOP presidential candidates debated:

  • Aug. 6, 2015: Cleveland, Ohio
  • Sept. 16, 2015: Simi Valley, California
  • Oct. 28, 2015: Boulder, Colorado
  • Nov. 10, 2015: Milwaukee, Wisconsin
  • Dec. 15, 2015: Las Vegas, Nevada
  • Jan. 14, 2016: North Charleston, South Carolina
  • Jan. 28, 2016: Des Moines, Iowa
  • Feb. 6, 2016: Manchester, New Hampshire 
  • Feb. 13, 2016: Greenville, South Carolina 
  • Feb. 25, 2016: Houston, Texas
  • March 3, 2016: Detroit, Michigan
  • March 10, 2016: Miama, Florida

Democratic Presidential Debate Schedule

The Democratic National Committee held 11 debates between the two candidates seeking the party's presidential nomination in 2016, former U.S. Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton and U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont.

Here's when the Democratic candidates debated:

  • Oct. 13, 2015: Las Vegas, Nevada
  • Nov. 14, 2015: Des Moines, Iowa
  • Dec. 19, 2015: Manchester, New Hampshire
  • Jan. 17, 2016: Charleston, South Carolina
  • Jan. 25, 2016: Des Moines, Iowa
  • Feb. 4, 2016: Durham, New Hampshire
  • Feb. 11, 2016: Milwaukee, Wisconsin
  • March 6, 2016: Flint, Michigan
  • March 9, 2016: Miama, Florida
  • April, 2016
  • May, 2016