Boston University to Host Massachusetts Democratic Gubernatorial Debate

Contact: Richard Taffe, 617-353-4626 |

Boston, MA — Boston University announced today Professor Robert Zelnick will moderate the live, televised debate from 7 p.m. to 8 p.m. on September 5 among the four candidates competing in the Sept. 17 primary for the Massachusetts Democratic gubernatorial nomination. It will be staged at BU’s Tsai Performance Center.

Zelnick, a veteran ABC network news correspondent, is now chairman of BU’s Department of Journalism. The debate is sponsored by a media consortium of WHDH-TV, WBZ-TV, WCVB-TV, WGBH-TV, New England Cable News – all of which will air the debate – and The Boston Globe.

The candidates – State Senate President Thomas Birmingham, State Treasurer Shannon O’Brien, former U.S. Labor Secretary Robert Reich and former State Sen. Warren Tolman – will be questioned by a panel of four reporters in what is being billed as a “discussion of public questions in an assembly.”

Public seating is limited with tickets available through the candidate’s campaign offices. In 21 years with ABC News, Zelnick covered political and congressional affairs, primarily for ABC Morning News, World News Tonight Saturday/Sunday, and This Week. He was ABC’s Pentagon correspondent from 1986-94, Tel Aviv correspondent from 1984-1986, and Moscow correspondent from 1982-1984. He has won two Emmy Awards and two Gavel Awards, is widely published in numerous newspaper magazines and scholarly journals, and is the author of “Gore: A Political Life,” a biography of Vice President Al Gore, and “Backfire, A Reporter’s Look at Affirmative Action.”