PHOENIX — Phoenix will host a Democratic Party presidential debate on March 15, two days before Arizona presidential preference election, the Democratic National Committee and the Congressional Hispanic Caucus announced Friday.

The debate will air live on CNN and Univision. 

The debate location has not been announced, but people familiar with the plans said the event could be at downtown's Phoenix Convention Center or the Arizona Federal Theatre, formerly the Comerica Theatre, across the street from the Sandra Day O'Connor Federal Courthouse. 

The debate site and date confirms Arizona's status as a key battleground state in the race for the White House and control of the U.S. Senate.

"I personally want to thank Phoenix Mayor Kate Gallego, Senator Kyrsten Sinema, members of Congress Ruben Gallego and Greg Stanton, and the Congressional Hispanic Caucus for their assistance throughout the selection process," said DNC Chair Tom Perez. "Arizonans can't ask for better local and national advocates."

Perez is scheduled to visit Phoenix on Monday, two days ahead of President Donald Trump's rally at Veterans Memorial Coliseum. 

Arizona's Democratic primary is open only to registered Democrats. The deadline to register or change your party preference is Tuesday. 

ServiceArizona allows voters to register online

Early ballots will be mailed to voters on Wednesday. 

The Democratic nomination battle flips into high gear in March, with 14 primaries on "Super Tuesday," March 3; five primaries on March 10; and four primaries on March 17 - Arizona, Florida, Illinois, and Ohio.

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