HOUSTON – Excitement is building on the Texas Southern University campus with word that it will play host to the Democratic presidential candidates for their third debate in two months.
Leaders made the announcement via Twitter, saying that the debate will be held Sept. 12-13 at the Health and Physical Education Arena.
At a press conference Monday, Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner called it a big win for the city and the university.
Texas Southern University will serve as the venue for the third Democratic primary debate, to be held Thursday and Friday, September 12-13, 2019, in the Health & Physical Education (H&PE) Arena. pic.twitter.com/Mr7tCdyvku— Texas Southern University (@TexasSouthern) July 21, 2019
"It points out again that Houston is positioning itself on (the) national and international stage," Turner said.
This will be the second time in three months that Democratic presidential hopefuls will descend on the campus in Houston's 3rd Ward.
In April, TSU was the site of the She the People Presidential Forum, which featured eight candidates.
"That was definitely a test run for us. We've been able to host a few events that gave us a head start," said TSU President Austin Lane.
But Lane acknowledged this presidential debate will put an even brighter spotlight on the university, which is eager to expand its brand outside of Texas.
"As you can imagine we're very excited about the exposure. We don't want to be a best-kept secret. We're ready to put on a good show for the world to see," he said.
Students said they hoped they would be able to get a seat inside the debate to watch the presidential selection process unfold up close.
"I'm so excited about it I can't wait for it to come to pass because I want to be there," said Chidi Ebere Uzoewule.
Lane said the Democratic National Committee had not yet revealed how tickets would be distributed but expected there would be an allotment for students.
The university’s Student Recreation Center will serve as a media hub from Sept. 9-13.
The two-night event will air on ABC and Univision.
Twenty of the candidates will meet next week in Detroit for their second debate. It will air July 30-31 on CNN.