Seats sparse at UH Republican Presidential debate

HOUSTON – Seats for Houston's first Republican Presidential debate have become prime political real estate. The debate kicks off at 7:30 p.m. Thursday at the Moores Opera House at the University of Houston.

Just 800 available seats will be divided between the candidates, party officials and members, donors and sponsors.

The debate comes just days before Super Tuesday when primaries in Texas and 11 other states could further cull the Republican field.

Debate sponsors CNN & Telemundo are already setting up to begin live broadcasting from the venue Wednesday.

“The opportunity to host the debate right before the crucial super Tuesday election is such a extraordinary experience for the University of Houston because it means additional eyes of the nation and the world will be upon this debate and on our university.” says P'nina Topham, University of Houston director of public relations.

Twenty-five seats are being made available for UH students and faculty through a raffle that closed last Friday.

Student Jane Mwangi wasn't one of the lucky winners.

“There was a submission process where you have to put your name in it, so we did that, but we didn't get chosen,” she said.

Mwangi and other students are planning to catch the debate at a watch party Thursday night at the campus student center.

Student Senate member Kye Cockerham is hoping to see it live. He's one of about 75 students chosen as volunteers to help put on the debate.

“I do believe that seeing someone is a lot different than just hearing them talk at you as opposed to being able to stand there and feel like they're talking to you.” he said.

According to Telemundo, the UH debate will be the first put one by the GOP focusing on “Latino issues” like border policy and immigration reform; hot button issues for the Republican candidates.

Remember you can count on Ch.2 News for all your election coverge.

We will have a townhall meeting during the debate which we will stream live on