Bernie Sanders’ campaign has tentatively accepted an invitation to a proposed Fox News-hosted Democratic presidential debate provided they can reach a “mutual agreement” with Hillary Clinton.
The campaign released a statement Wednesday after Fox News invited both Democratic presidential candidates to a final debate in California before the June 7 primaries.
“Both campaigns have been invited by Fox News to a debate. 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,” Jeff Weaver, Sanders’ campaign manager, said in a statement.
In response, Bill Sammon, VP and Washington managing editor at Fox News, said in a statement: “Fox News has suggested several debate venues in California to the Democratic National Committee and both candidates. We are also offering a variety of dates, being careful to exclude Friday and Saturday nights, per the agreement between the DNC and candidates. Fox will release further debate details as appropriate, given that only one of the two candidates has accepted our debate invitation so far.”
Clinton, the Democratic front-runner, has not yet said whether she’d attend. The campaigns earlier this year agreed in principle to hold a May debate.
At this stage, Clinton is just 90 delegates shy of the 2,383 delegates needed to clinch the nomination. Still, she has struggled shake Sanders, most recently losing to him Tuesday in Oregon’s primary. Clinton declared victory in the Kentucky primary held the same day, though that race was very close and has not officially been called in her favor.
Sanders has vowed to take his fight to the convention, and has challenged the legitimacy of Clinton’s overwhelming support from “superdelegates,” party insiders and officials free to support whichever candidate they want.
Regarding the proposed debate, Weaver said in his statement: “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.”
California is one of several states holding primaries on June 7.
Democratic National Committee Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz has not said, either, whether the party would agree to the proposed debate.
Asked on Fox News Tuesday night about the invitation, she declined to weigh in. Schultz said they were still working through the process and talking to candidates, and looked forward to talking to potential media partners.