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Updated at 4:18 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 11, 2019, with more information.

NASHVILLE — Belmont University in Nashville will host the third and final presidential debate in 2020.

The nonpartisan Commission on Presidential Debates, which runs the debates and chooses the venues, on Friday said the event will take place Oct. 22, 2020. That's just 11 days before the November general election.

This is the second time in a dozen years for Belmont, a private university, to be chosen to host a presidential debate. In 2008, then-President Barack Obama, a Democrat, squared off with Republican nominee U.S. Sen. John McCain, of Arizona, in a town hall-style matchup seen by more than 63 million viewers.

In 2016, Belmont was chosen as an alternative debate site. This year, Belmont vied with five other cities for the honor and came out on top for the final debate.

Belmont University President Robert Fisher joined with U.S. Sen. Marsha Blackburn, R-Tenn., U.S. Rep. Jim Cooper, D-Tenn., and Nashville's newly elected mayor, John Cooper, the brother of the congressman, in a news conference Friday formally announcing Belmont's selection.

Calling it a "big deal," Fisher went on to to describe it as an "incredibly transformative moment for our university."

Blackburn said it is "nothing short of remarkable that the final debate, the one that will take place once early voting has started in Tennessee and everyone is in the process of making those final decisions [that] all of that attention, not just in Tennessee but around the country and around the world will be directed right here."

Congressman Cooper described it as "another Belmont miracle," then turned to Belmont students in the audience and said "this is your opportunity to see national politics up close" in what Cooper went on to describe as "probably the most important presidential election ever."

Incumbent Republican President Donald Trump is in the midst of battling with the Democratic-led U.S. House, which is conducting an impeachment inquiry into the president for having asked the president of Ukraine to investigate one of his potential Democratic rivals, former Vice President Joe Biden.

Biden, meanwhile, is now vying for his party's nomination in a multi-candidate Democratic primary field with close rivals, including U.S. Sens. Elizabeth Warren, of Massachusetts, and Bernie Sanders, of Vermont.

The Commission on Presidential Debates set this schedule for the full roster of debates:

 

First presidential debate:

Tuesday, Sept. 29, 2020

University of Notre Dame, Notre Dame, Indiana

 

Vice presidential debate:

Wednesday, Oct. 7, 2020

The University of Utah, Salt Lake City, Utah

 

Second presidential debate:

Thursday, Oct. 15, 2020

University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Michigan

 

Third presidential debate:

Thursday, Oct. 22, 2020

Belmont University, Nashville, Tennessee

Contact Andy Sher at asher@timesfreepress.com or 615-255-0550. Follow him on Twitter @AndySher1.

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