Democratic presidential candidates Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton have been invited to participate in a nationally televised Democratic town hall at Ohio State.
The event with expected attendees Vermont senator and former secretary of state is scheduled to take place from 8 to 10 p.m. Sunday, two days before five states, including Ohio, cast primary ballots. Hosted by CNN and TV One, the event is slated to be held in the Mershon Auditorium.
CNN is dubbing Sunday’s event a “closing statement” before voters in bellwether states Ohio and Florida, along with those in Illinois, Missouri and North Carolina, head to the polls.
Clinton, the frontrunner for the party’s nomination, will be in attendance, the Office of Rep. Joyce Beatty confirmed with The Lantern. The office could not confirm Sanders’ participation.
The congresswoman’s office added that Beatty helped facilitate the forum and coordinated with OSU.
Although the Vermont senator’s campaign did not respond to multiple requests for comment, an email sent to political science students was obtained by The Lantern. The email asked the students to submit questions for the town hall, which both candidates “are scheduled to attend,” the email read.
In addition to those from students and other audience members, questions will come from the two moderators, CNN’s Jake Tapper and TV One’s Roland Martin. Sunday’s event will be in the same mold of the five other town halls CNN has hosted so far this election cycle, meaning one candidate will occupy the stage at time.
A university spokesman declined to offer details on how students and others hoping to attend can secure tickets, only saying those will be released in the coming days.
Michael Lakomy, president of the College Democrats and a third-year in accounting, said he is hoping the event will provide “a little more clarity” for the Ohio voters before the primary, especially given the state of the race.
“There’s a lot of people who aren’t used to having votes that matter in the primary for the Democratic nomination, so I think it will be a nice experience to help get to choose,” he said. “We choose the president, but we don’t always get to choose the nominee, so it will be a fun here in Ohio on both sides.”
David Stanislav, a third-year in chemical engineering and chairman of College Republicans, said he’s expecting both candidates to be well-received, given the fact that college campuses tend to be a liberal hotbed.
He said he also thinks Sunday’s forum is just a harbinger for what’s to come as the election cycle rolls on.
“I think that it was only natural that at some point the candidates were going to come to campus,” Stanislav said. “I think that we’re going to see a lot more of that to come … once the general election is here.”
Clinton and Sanders are both expected in the capital city earlier Sunday evening to speak at the Ohio Democratic Party Legacy Dinner at the Greater Columbus Convention Center, according to the Ohio Democrats’ website.