Inside look at site of Miami's Republican presidential debate

How Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts became political hub
The Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts in downtown Miami will host a Republican presidential debate on Nov. 8, 2023.jpg
Posted at 9:05 AM, Nov 08, 2023
and last updated 2023-11-08 09:37:22-05

MIAMI — All eyes are on South Florida as final preparations are underway for Wednesday night's Republican presidential debate.

The debate is being held at the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts of Miami-Dade County, right in the heart of downtown Miami.

The venue has had crews of scores of people working around the clock for about two days to make sure everything is safe and efficient.

"The Arsht Center is not just an artistic hub. It's a community hub," Suezzete Espinosa Fuentes, vice president of communications at the venue, told WPTV.

She said she's "incredibly proud to be part of the Democratic process, to have the eyes of the world here at the Arsht Center."

Preparations began a week ago. Staff at the Arsht Center has to make sure the stage and auditorium are camera-ready since the event will be broadcast by NBC.

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They are also working to make sure the live audience at the event is comfortable and safe.

Espinosa Fuentes said this is one of their biggest and highest-profile events held at the center, and preparation can be intense.

"There's a crew of over 100 people working 24 hours a day for two days straight to put everything in place," she said. "We are installing over two hundred lighting fixtures. We're installing a dozen LED screens. We are beefing up the WiFi in here."

The center is known for political showdowns, just like this one. The first Democratic primary debate for the 2020 elections took place there in June 2019.

Espinosa Funetes said everything went smoothly for that debate a few years ago.

Suezzete Espinosa Fuentes speaks about Adrienne Arsht Center hosting Republican presidential debate
Suezzete Espinosa Fuentes, vice president of communications for the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts of Miami-Dade County, speaks to WPTV about the venue's preparation for the Republican presidential debate.

"I think that's a reason why they came back," Espinosa Fuentes said. Because everything went really, really well."

As the debate ticks closer and closer, the pressure of this event is not lost on the center's staff.

"We are part of this community, and to be able to represent Miami on the national stage, if you will, is very meaningful for us, Espinosa Fuentes said.

Security for the debate will be handled by several teams, including the center's staff, Miami police and Miami-Dade police.

The debate airs on NBC starting at 8 p.m.