Meredith Liu / Sun Assistant Managing Editor

Currently The New York Times’ national editor, Lacey (pictured middle) will represent The New York Times, moderating the October debate alongside CNN’s Anderson Cooper and Erin Burnett.

September 16, 2019

The Next Democratic Debate Moderator? A Cornellian.

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As 11 — and possibly more — Democratic candidates for President of the United States jostle and jibe on a national stage in Ohio next month, a hint of Big Red will be seen amidst a stage of blue: Marc Lacey ’87 will moderate the debate.

Currently The New York Times’ national editor, Lacey will represent the paper, moderating the October debate alongside CNN’s Anderson Cooper and Erin Burnett.

Since 2016, Lacey has overseen the Times’ national desk, a section that, through its 13 domestic bureaus, covers news and human interest stories spanning from Key West, Florida to Nome, Alaska.   

The former Washington, D.C. correspondent began his journalism career far before his foray into the glass-walled building in New York City: He was The Sun’s editor-in-chief from fall 1986 to spring 1987, and then went on to write for The Washington Post and Los Angeles Times, before eventually landing at the Gray Lady almost 20 years ago.

The New York Times hasn’t hosted a debate in more than a decade, but in a letter sent to staff, the paper’s executive editor Dean Baquet and politics editor Patrick Healey wrote that it was time “to take a leading role in planning and hosting a debate.”

The two editors lauded Lacey’s work, praising his coverage of issues that have been pivotal at the previous democratic debates.

“[Lacey] has been working with the Politics desk to plan coverage around how voters’ lives have been reshaped by the job market and the economy, by immigration and inequality, by gun violence and the impact of climate change,” Baquet and Healey wrote.

Having served at the helm of The Sun, Lacey said in 1987 that his time at the Ithaca-based student paper was the “most exciting, educational and memorable of my life.”

Thirty years later, Lacey has “done it all,” in the words of Baquet and Healey: His time at The Times encompassed work across the country, as well as Nairobi, Kenya and Mexico City, Mexico. And soon, he’ll be able to add moderator of a nationally-televised debate to his resume.

The candidates will vie for voters at Otterbein University in Westerville, Ohio on Oct. 15, and perhaps Oct. 16, depending on the number of Democrats who qualify for the debate.