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Arizona Democratic debate moved to Washington

The move comes after an earlier announcement that the debate was slated to have no audience

20191015 Sanders Biden Democratic debate

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) hugs former Vice President Joe Biden after joking that Biden called him Putin during a Democratic presidential debate on Tuesday, Oct. 15, 2019, at the Otterbein University Rike Center in Westerville, Ohio.

The Arizona Democratic presidential debate between former Vice President Joe Biden and Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vermont) has been moved to a television studio in Washington, D.C. over coronavirus fears, the Democratic National Committee and CNN announced Thursday morning. 

"Out of an abundance of caution and in order to reduce cross-country travel, all parties have decided that the best path forward is to hold Sunday's debate at CNN's studio in Washington, D.C., with no live audience," DNC communications director Xochitl Hinojosa said in a statement.

Univision moderator Jorge Ramos was possibly exposed to the virus and does not exhibit symptoms, but is stepping down from his role, according to CNN.

The debate, hosted by CNN and Univision, was scheduled to take place at the Arizona Federal Theatre, formerly known as Comerica Theatre, on Sunday evening. Earlier this week, the DNC announced plans to have the debate without an audience or press present. 

Following losses in primaries in Idaho, Michigan, Missouri and Mississippi, Sanders said Wednesday that he would not suspend his campaign and would open five field offices in Arizona and was looking forward to his one-on-one debate with Biden. 

As of Wednesday night, primary results in Washington have not been called yet but Biden is leading with 35% of the votes. According to The New York Times, Biden has 864 delegates and Sanders has 710. 

"Our number one priority has and will continue to be the safety of our staff, campaigns, and all those involved in the debate," Hinojosa said in the statement. 

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Piper HansenDigital Editor-in-Chief

Piper Hansen is the digital editor-in-chief at The State Press, overseeing all digital content. Joining SP in Spring 2020, she has covered student government, housing and COVID-19. She has previously written about state politics for The Arizona Republic and the Arizona Capitol Times and covers social justice for Cronkite News.

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