Alabamians will have a free "watch party" to observe the presidential debate between Democrat Joe Biden and Republican Donald Trump. The Mobile County Republican Executive Committee hosts it on Thursday, June 27, at 7:30 p.m. The debate starts on CNN at 8 p.m.

Viewers need to RSVP for the event by Friday, June 21.

The event will be at West Mobile’s Aztecas Restaurant, 6800 Airport Blvd. It includes complimentary soft drinks, water, chips and salsa. Those wishing to order Dutch Treat off the menu may do so.

The hosting of the GOP debate event by a Mexican restaurant is cited as one more example of the growing support of Donald Trump by Latino voters. Traditionally, Latinos had tended Democrat, but that support appears to be eroding.

There are some political commentators who question whether the June 27 debate will actually take place. The Biden camp has made demands about the debate format, and Trump has accepted.

The debate will have the candidates sitting down. Favors Biden.

There will be no audience in the debate. Favors Biden.

The moderators will control the microphones. Favors Biden.

The debate is produced by CNN. Favors Biden.

The debate will be moderated by Jake Tapper and Dana Bush.

Speculation is that the Biden camp never thought that CNN and Trump would agree to all its demands. It is possible that the Biden advisers are looking for some way out of the debate prior to June 27.

One other debate is now scheduled for September 10 on ABC.  

Only Trump and Biden will debate on June 27. Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. will not be allowed to debate.

CNN rules state that candidates will only be included who score 15% in national polls and are on ballots in enough states to achieve the needed 270 electoral votes.

Kennedy is hitting 15% in some polls but has not qualified to be on the ballot in enough states to achieve 270 electoral votes.

June 27 is an unusually early date for a presidential debate. Neither candidate has received the nomination of his party. The two parties have not yet held their national conventions. Biden and Trump are both the “presumptive nominees” of their parties.

There is growing speculation that the Democrat party could replace Biden as their nominee due to episodes of frailty and cognitive decline. If a replacement were to occur, there is no protocol for whether the Democrats would be given a do-over, with the new nominee debating Trump.

No date has been set for a vice presidential debate. CBS has invited both parties to hold one on either July 23 or August 13. The Democrats, who appear to be sticking with Vice President Kamala Harris, have accepted the invitation. The Republicans have not responded yet, and their vice presidential candidate is not yet known.

The Republican National Convention is July 15-18 in Milwaukee, and the Democratic National Convention is August 19-22 in Chicago.

Jim ‘Zig’ Zeigler’s beat is the colorful and positive about Alabama. He writes about Alabama people, places, events, groups and prominent deaths. He is a former Alabama Public Service Commissioner and State Auditor. You can reach him for comments at

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