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Texas State University in San Marcos will no longer host presidential debate

A photo of a tree in front of the entrance to Strahan Coliseum on the Texas State University campus.
Gabriel C. Pérez
KUT News
Texas State University hopes to get first pick as a debate location in 2028.

Texas State University was meant to be the first university in the state to host a presidential debate. The school had been preparing for months for the event, even including the school's new mounted horse patrol unit in conversations on keeping guests and potential protesters safe.

Now, university officials said the Commission on Presidential Debates has officially canceled all their 2024 debates, including the one scheduled for Sept. 16 on the San Marcos campus.

"While receiving this official news is disappointing, we understand the CPD's position," Texas State President Kelly Damphousse said in a statement Monday evening. "As the only Texas university to have graduated a U.S. president, we were excited to host the first-ever presidential debate in our great state." The university was originally planning to spend around $5 million to hold the event.

Another three campuses prepared to host debates in the fall: Lafayette College, Virginia State University and the University of Utah.

Last month, the Democratic leader's campaign chair informed the CPD that President Biden would not be participating in the nonpartisan group's debates this year.

Instead, Biden and former President Donald Trump will take part in debates hosted by news organizations. The first one takes place on Thursday and is hosted by CNN, and the second on Sept. 10 is hosted by ABC.

In an email to university staff, Damphousse said Texas State would have first pick on future CPD-sponsored debates, but that would be a decision to be made at least three years from now.

"I hope that you take pride in knowing TXST will always hold the title of the first Hispanic Serving Institution and the first site in Texas to be chosen to host a presidential debate," he wrote in the email. "I am convinced we would have shone brightly on the world’s stage."

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Maya Fawaz is KUT's Hays County reporter. Got a tip? Email her at Follow her on Twitter @mayagfawaz.
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