Too soon? Date set for GOP presidential primary debate

Ron Paul, Rick Santorum, Mitt Romney and Newt Gingrich before a 2012 GOP presidential debate

Story highlights

  • A GOP presidential primary debate has been scheduled for Sept. 2015
  • The debate will be hosted by the Reagan Foundation in California
  • The RNC has not yet said whether it will sanction the debate
Mark your calendars: The midterm elections aren't yet decided, but there's already a date scheduled for a 2016 presidential debate.
With slightly more than two years until a new president is chosen, The Ronald Reagan Presidential Foundation announced Thursday its plans to host a televised debate for Republican primary candidates on Sept. 16, 2015 at the Reagan Library in California.
"Ronnie would be so pleased to know that his presidential library continues to attract America's leaders to discuss the future of the country he loved so dearly," former First Lady Nancy Reagan said in a release from the Reagan Foundation, an organization geared toward promoting the GOP icon's national legacy. "I can't think of a better way to honor my husband than to keep the tradition of Reagan Library-hosted debates alive."
But don't get too excited for a heated GOP faceoff: New rules from the Republican National Committee plan to limit the number of primary debates in the upcoming presidential contest after a series of contentious debates rattled the party leading up to 2012.
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In a statement, the RNC's Sean Spicer said the list of sanctioned debates will be announced later in the year.
"We are focused on Tuesday's election," he said.
Although no Republicans have officially announced a 2016 White House bid, many potential contenders have made themselves known in recent months by stumping for midterm candidates.
New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, for example, has made four trips to Iowa in recent months to support GOP candidates there. And Republican U.S. Senator Rand Paul recorded robocalls for a Florida Republican in a tight race to maintain his House seat.
Both politicians are regarded as 2016 frontrunners -- that is, should they decide to throw their hats in the ring.