- The Washington Times - Wednesday, January 20, 2016

The Washington Times will team up with CNN to host the final scheduled debate of the GOP presidential primary on March 10, The Times and the Republican National Committee said Wednesday.

Scheduled to come just after the Super Tuesday slate of contests, the debate will be held at the University of Miami, the RNC plans to announce.

Salem Radio Network will also partner in the debate.

“Helping voters see and understand the candidates is a critical part of any presidential election, and The Times is thrilled to be part of that process this year,” Larry Beasley, president and CEO of The Washington Times, said in a statement.

The debates have changed the contours of the race by giving candidates the chance to deliver their messages to record-breaking audiences — and they’ve proved to be huge for the networks, which have benefited from those huge audiences.

“You will be getting more and more states that are going to start voting, and there is going to be more and more attention being paid,” said Sean Spicer, a spokesman for the RNC. “I just think the timing is good.”

The RNC and CNN plan to sort out additional details, including whether there will be an undercard event and who will serve as moderator.

The RNC made a fundamental shift in its thinking following the 2012 election by demanding that news outlets such as The Times are part of the debates, as are conservative personalities, including Hugh Hewitt of Salem Radio Network.

The RNC also sliced the number of debates in half, and decided to host them in different states rather than concentrating them in the early-voting states.

The debate is scheduled to come after nomination contests in a swath of Southern states on March 1 that are known as Super Tuesday — or the “SEC Primary” because it includes contests in eight states that are home to colleges that play sports in the Southeastern Conference.

Eight states and Puerto Rico will hold contests between then and the March 10 debate, which will set the table for a contest in the District of Columbia two days later and six contests on March 15, including Florida, North Carolina and Ohio.

• Seth McLaughlin can be reached at smclaughlin@washingtontimes.com.

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