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Democrats Announce 2016 Primary Debate Schedule

The Democratic National Committee has announced a schedule of six presidential primary debates, beginning on October 13. 2015 in Nevada.

The party made the announcement on the same day that the Republican candidates are set to debate for the first time in Cleveland, Ohio.

Just four of the Democratic debates will be held before the key early nominating contests begin early next year.

After the October debate in Nevada, which will be hosted by CNN, the next Democratic debates are: November 14 in Des Moines, IA (hosted by CBS, KCCI and the Des Moines Register); December 19 in Manchester, NH (hosted by ABC and WMUR); and January 17 in Charleston, SC (hosted by NBC News and the Congressional Black Caucus Institute).

Debates are also scheduled to be held in February or March in both Miami and Wisconsin, with dates to be announced.

Two of Clinton's rivals have said they are upset about the way the party has scheduled the debates.

"By inserting themselves into the debate process, the DNC has ironically made it less democratic. The schedule they have proposed does not give voters—nationally, and especially in early states—ample opportunity to hear from the Democratic candidates for President," former Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley said in a statement.

O'Malley also told The Hill newspaper on Wednesday that "there's an effort by a few insiders to try to limit the number of debates."

"It's all about trying to pre-ordain the outcome, circle the wagons and close off debate,” O'Malley said. “If they could actually accelerate the date of the Iowa caucuses and hold them tomorrow — they'd like to do that. Then there'd be no campaign at all. That's what they'd really like.”

Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders said in a statement that he's "disappointed, but not surprised," by the schedule.

"At a time when many Americans are demoralized about politics and have given up on the political process, I think it's imperative that we have as many debates as possible -- certainly more than six. I look forward to working with the DNC to see if we can significantly expand the proposed debate schedule."