Democrats pushed to hold 2020 primary debate on climate

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DETROIT, MICHIGAN – JULY 31: Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ) (4th L) speaks while Sen. Michael Bennet (D-CO) (L-R), Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), former housing secretary Julian Castro, former Vice President Joe Biden, Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA) , former tech executive Andrew Yang, Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI), Washington Gov. Jay Inslee, and New York City Mayor Bill De Blasio listen during Democratic Presidential Debate at the Fox Theatre July 31, 2019 in Detroit, Michigan. 20 Democratic presidential candidates were split into two groups of 10 to take part in the debate sponsored by CNN held over two nights at Detroit’s Fox Theatre. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Democratic Party leaders are fighting over whether to hold a presidential primary debate exclusively on the climate crisis.

Hundreds of activists are at the Democratic National Committee’s summer meeting Thursday in California, where an influential party committee is discussing the matter.

But DNC Chairman Tom Perez shows no signs of rewriting the debate rules months into the 2020 campaign season.

Perez opposes “single-issue” debates where multiple candidates are on stage at the same time.

The DNC instead has encouraged other groups to hold issue-based forums where candidates appear one at a time. Activists say that approach hasn’t gotten climate policy enough attention.

The meeting comes a day after Washington Gov. Jay Inslee ended his presidential bid. Inslee had pledged to make climate action the nation’s top priority.

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