SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Democratic Party leaders are literally fighting over whether to hold a presidential primary debate exclusively on the climate crisis.

Hundreds of activists are at the Democratic National Committee’s summer meeting Thursday in California where an influential party committee is discussing the matter.

Activists gathered to push the climate change agenda at the meeting chanted to let more people fill empty seats at Thursday’s meeting.

But Chairman Tom Perez shows no signs of rewriting the debate rules months into the campaign.

Perez opposes “single-issue” debates where multiple candidates are on stage at the same time.

The DNC instead has encouraged other groups to hold issue-based forums where candidates appear one at a time. Activists say that approach hasn’t gotten climate policy enough attention.

The meeting comes a day after Washington Gov. Jay Inslee ended his presidential bid after failing to gain enough support for his pledge to make climate action the nation’s top priority.

Presidential candidates are making their way to the meeting. Senator Bernie Sanders toured the town of Paradise earlier Thursday and is hosting a rally in downtown Sacramento that starts at 6 p.m.

Sanders, along with a dozen other presidential candidates, will attend the 3-day event.

Former Vice President Joe Biden will not be making an appearance. The event wraps up Saturday.

 

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