Democratic candidates descend on Milwaukee for debate tonight

Clinton-Sanders
Bernie Sanders extended his lead on Hillary Clinton among Wisconsin voters in March.

Democratic presidential candidates Hillary Clinton and Sen. Bernie Sanders will face off in a debate tonight at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.

Clinton-Sanders
Bernie Sanders and Hilary Clinton will debate tonight in Milwaukee. PHOTO: Joseph Sohm.

The debate, hosted by PBS NewsHour and moderated by Gwen Ifill and Judy Woodruff, will be broadcast nationwide on PBS stations and streamed online at pbs.org/newshour. BizTimes Milwaukee will be covering the debate and related events throughout the day.

The City of Milwaukee and UWM are preparing for the arrival of the politicians and an influx of spectators and members of the media.

The Milwaukee Police Department and Department of Public Works have been working with UWM to set up no-parking zones and street closures around the UWM Helene Zelazo Center for the Performing Arts, 2419 E. Kenwood Blvd., where the debate will be held at 8 p.m.

Until tomorrow morning, East Kenwood Boulevard will be closed to vehicles between North Downer and North Maryland avenues. North Farwell, North Prospect and North Stowell avenues between East Kenwood and East Linnwood will also be closed, with controlled access for residents. Milwaukee County Transit System routes running near UWM will be rerouted today and tomorrow. UWM’s union parking garage will also be closed until tomorrow.

The event is sold out, and pedestrian access will be limited in the area all day.

Clinton and Sanders are in the midst of several important early primaries as they battle for the Democratic nomination. Clinton clinched a narrow win in the Iowa caucuses earlier this month, while Sanders, who calls himself a “Democratic Socialist, won Tuesday’s New Hampshire primary.

Meanwhile, the Republican Party of Wisconsin has purchased a billboard ad on I-94 near General Mitchell International Airport to “welcome” Clinton to Milwaukee. The billboard, which highlights the ongoing investigation of Clinton’s use of a private email server for business while she was secretary of state, says: “While national Democrats debate in Milwaukee…the FBI is investigating Hillary Clinton. What’s there to debate? We know Hillary Clinton can’t be trusted.”

The Republican candidates for president participated in a debate in Milwaukee in November at the downtown Milwaukee Theatre. The event brought hordes of politicians, their staff members, news media and protesters to Milwaukee. VISIT Milwaukee estimated the GOP debate had a $5 million to $10 million economic impact on Milwaukee and filled about 3,500 hotel rooms.

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Molly Dill, former BizTimes Milwaukee managing editor.

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