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NBC News’ Lester Holt And Kristen Welker To Moderate Next GOP Debate With Salem Radio’s Hugh Hewitt

NBC Nightly News anchor Lester Holt and Meet the Press moderator Kristen Welker will moderate the next Republican debate along with Hugh Hewitt, host on the Salem Radio Network.

The lineup for the Nov. 8 event was announced on Nightly News this evening.

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The debate will air from 8 p.m. to 10 p.m. ET from the Adrianne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts in Miami-Dade County. It’s the third Republican debate this cycle, but front runner Donald Trump is not expected to attend.

Holt co-moderated the first Democratic presidential debate of the last presidential cycle, which was held in June, 2019 in Miami. He also co-moderated a Las Vegas presidential primary debate in February, 2020 from Las Vegas. Holt also moderated the first general election debate between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton in 2016.

Welker moderated the final presidential debate between Trump and Joe Biden in October, 2020, and co-moderated a Democratic primary debate in November, 2019 in Atlanta.

Hewitt, the host of The Hugh Hewitt Show, was part of the moderating panel of four GOP primary debates on CNN in 2015 and 2016.

NBC News is the first non-Fox outlet to host a GOP debate this cycle, and other networks also are hoping to gain the Republican National Committee’s nod for future event. The network’s partners are Salem Media Group, the conservative radio network, and Rumble, which will livestream the event.

After the announcement of the debate media partners, CNN’s Oliver Darcy criticized NBC for agreement to the arrangement, arguing that Salem has featured figures like Charlie Kirk, Dinesh D’Souza, Sebastian Gorka and Jenna Ellis “who have espoused incendiary views, pushed dangerous conspiracy theories, and told outright lies about the 2020 election.” He also warned CNN that it would be a “terrible look” for them to also partner with Salem and Rumble. Salem did partner with CNN in the 2016 cycle.

Fox News hosted the first Republican debate from Milwaukee, and Fox Business telecast the second, held at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley, CA. The first debate drew 12.8 million viewers and the second dropped to 9.5 million, according to Nielsen. Those are still robust numbers for cable news.

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