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Republican Party threatens to boycott U.S. presidential debate commission

In a letter to the non-profit commission which has run presidential debates since 1988, Republican National Committee Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel said the party was considering amending its rules to ensure its candidates do not attend the debates because of concerns about "whether the CPD credibly can provide a fair and impartial forum for presidential debates."

FILE PHOTO: Snow falls during a winter storm on Capitol Hill in Washington
FILE PHOTO: The U.S. Capitol is seen at sunset following a winter storm along the National Mall in Washington.
Tom Brenner / Reuters

WASHINGTON - The Republican Party on Thursday said its future presidential candidates might not participate in debates run by the Commission on Presidential Debates due to concerns about fairness, upending decades of tradition.

In a letter to the non-profit commission which has run presidential debates since 1988, Republican National Committee Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel said the party was considering amending its rules to ensure its candidates do not attend the debates because of concerns about "whether the CPD credibly can provide a fair and impartial forum for presidential debates."

She said the party would try to help future Republican presidential nominees participate in debates that are organized more fairly.

Republicans have long accused the debate commission, which was founded to codify the debates as a permanent part of presidential elections, of being biased in favor of Democratic Party candidates.

Last year, McDaniel and other party officials asked the commission to agree to changes in how it conducts its business and how the debates were held.

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The RNC rule change could be made official at an upcoming party meeting, McDaniel said.

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