GOP Presidential Campaigns To Have More Negotiating Power With Networks

Kerry Picket Political Reporter
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Alexandria, Va.—Republican campaigns will have direct access to network sponsors to hash out details of each debate. Twelve of the Fourteen GOP primary campaign aides met at a hotel in Old Town Alexandria and came to an agreement on how to handle GOP primary debate setups.

“Information flow has not been nearly what it has been in past years. Campaigns should be able to get the details about the debate far sooner then what they have so far this cycle,” Republican lawyer and liaison for the campaigns Ben Ginsburg told reporters after GOP campaign aides met at a hotel near Washington.

The Republican National Committee is no longer the middleman in the debate talks. Each campaign will do their own negotiations with the network sponsors as opposed to the RNC. Ginsburg described having “accountability and transparency” available to the campaigns in terms of debate formats, opening and closing statements as well as graphics and who the moderators are. A larger field of candidates, Ginsburg said, does not change the issue.

“I think a larger field may mean more challenges, but it’s an abundance of riches for the Republican Party. The debate ought to reflect those abundance of riches as a opposed to a bunch of gotcha questions,” he said.

Ginsburg explained, “There will be much more information requested of the debates’ sponsors. The campaigns will know well in advance all the details of the debate. I think it will be clearer from the letter that Barry talked about that the campaigns want that information and when they get that information each campaign will decide if that campaign wants to participate. So that will include a whole range of subject matter—moderators to formats to opening and closing statements.”

draft letter was composed that could be sent to any media sponsor with questions as well as demands. These questions include issues relating to the length of the debate, equal time for each candidate, rebuttals, opening statements, etc.

“I think this will give the campaigns an opportunity to negotiate with the sponsors. If the sponsors are not responsive, the campaigns will do what they have done in the past and say, ‘This is not a good format. We’re not comfortable’,” he added.