Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT) has officially accepted Fox News’ offer to hold a Democratic debate ahead of the June 7 California primary, according to a statement put out by the Sanders’ campaign Wednesday afternoon.
However, Sanders’ acceptance does come with a few stipulations: “We have told the network that we would accept the invitation with the understanding that we can reach mutual agreement on the debate moderators, the format and other details,” said Sanders campaign manager Jeff Weave.
California’s 475 pledged Democratic delegates are at stake in early June. If Sanders wins, he could conceivably block his rival, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, from reaching the 2,383-delegate majority she needs to clinch the party’s nomination. (She currently has fewer than 100 delegates left to go.)
According to the statement, “… [T]he people of California have a rare and important opportunity to play a significant role in determining who the Democratic Party nominee for president will be. Before making that choice, Californians deserve to hear what both candidates have to say on important issues confronting the state and the country,”
A battered Hillary Clinton has had a rough couple of weeks on the campaign trail, with lots of bad press and huge losses in some key states. Last time Sen. Sanders was on a debate stage with Hillary Clinton, he broke with tradition and attacked her.
The Clinton campaign has not yet accepted the debate invitation. One reason she might do so is that the forum could be good practice for her in her upcoming debates with the presumptive Republican nominee, Donald J Trump.
“More than half way through the month of May, we hope Secretary Clinton will soon make good on her campaign’s commitment and agree to a time and place for a debate,” Weaver added. “There are issues of enormous importance facing the people of California and our nation and the people of our largest state deserve to hear the Democratic candidates opinions.”