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UNLV to host final presidential debate before ’16 election

The University of Nevada, Las Vegas will host the final presidential debate before next year's election, boosting the city's growing influence in a race that already has brought a long succession of candidates to Southern Nevada.

The school was notified by the Commission on Presidential Debates early Wednesday that its request to be one of four sites for a presidential debate and a vice-presidential debate was accepted. UNLV had partnered with the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority in March to make the bid.

The debate is scheduled for Oct. 19, 2016, at the Thomas & Mack Center.

The Convention and Visitors Authority views Las Vegas' selection as a debate site as validation that the city isn't just about gambling, nightclubs and having fun, but it's also a viable location to conduct business.

The university got final approval for the event after a 20-minute meeting of the LVCVA board of directors, which voted unanimously to make $4 million available to cover expenses for the event. LVCVA officials expect to draw 3,500 journalists and 800 delegates, generating as much as $50 million in publicity for UNLV and Las Vegas.

Under terms of the financial agreement, the host city must pay a $1.95 million host fee and $2.05 million for program and production costs.

UNLV President Len Jessup, who will will co-chair a committee to organize the event along with LVCVA President Rossi Ralenkotter, said in a statement that the event will "allow students to experience the political process first-hand."

Nevada is expected to be a swing state in next year's election and it will play a key role during the 2016 election as the first Western state in the nomination process.

Las Vegas is already hosting debates for Democratic and Republican candidates later this year. The first of six presidential primary debates for Democratic candidates is scheduled Oct. 13 at Wynn Las Vegas. Front-runners Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders are expected to participate in the event sponsored by CNN.

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