GOP set to give away more Detroit debate tickets

Jonathan Oosting
Detroit News Lansing Bureau

A “couple hundred” lucky residents may still get tickets to Thursday night’s Republican presidential debate in Detroit, the Michigan GOP said.

The stage is set for Thursday's GOP debate at the Fox Theatre in Detroit Wednesday March 2, 2016.

Spokeswoman Sarah Anderson, citing popular demand, said the Republican National Committee has allocated additional tickets to the state party, which plans distribute them to some of the 21,000 people who filled out an online request form.

As The Detroit News reported this week, the Michigan GOP initially received 400 tickets for the debate and set aside 350 of them for elected officials, central committee members and grassroots activists.

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It left 50 tickets to distribute among the general public through a lottery. The RNC did not respond Tuesday to multiple requests for additional details about the ticket allocations to the presidential campaigns.

Anderson said the state party is contacting recipients Wednesday night and Thursday ahead of the 9 p.m. debate, which is set to feature GOP presidential front-runner Donald Trump, U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida, U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas and Ohio Gov. John Kasich.

Retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson, a Detroit native, said Wednesday he will not participate in the debate and does not “see a political path forward” for his campaign after 11 primary losses on Tuesday.

The Fox News Channel debate will take place in downtown Detroit at the historic Fox Theatre, which can typically seat 5,000 people. It’s expected to fit far fewer for the debate, however, because of television sets and room needed for media and staff. Find five things to watch in tonight’s debate.

Fox News hosts Megyn Kelly, Bret Baier and Chris Wallace will moderate the debate, which takes place five days before Michigan’s March 8 primary. Democratic candidates Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders are set to debate Sunday in Flint.