Not since 1960 has the U.S. presidential campaign started this early.
Both political conventions usually fall in late August. But the parties chose July dates ahead of the Olympic Games this year, sending out candidates with a full three months to campaign after two made-for-TV extravaganzas that left viewers worked up and wrung out.
For Texans, the end of the political conventions often also ends the presidential campaigns here.
Candidates don’t usually buy local TV time or visit Texas, reliably Republican for 40 years. Mostly, we watch from a distance.
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But here are seven dates to mark in the fall calendar:
Sept. 26, 8 p.m.: The first of three televised presidential debates, hosted by Hofstra University in Hempstead, N.Y.
This is the debate most likely to trigger any shift in opinion polls. It’s also in the home state of both Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton and Republican Donald J. Trump.
The choice is not restricted to two candidates. Gary Johnson of Utah, the Libertarian Party nominee, and running mate William Weld of Massachusetts will be invited to debate if that party reaches an average of 15 percent support in five major polls.
The same goes for the Green Party candidates, to be named Saturday in Texas at that party’s convention in the University of Houston campus theater. Jill Stein of Massachusetts is the anticipated nominee and will name a running mate.
Oct. 4, 8 p.m.: The only vice presidential debate, hosted by Longwood University in Farmville, Va. It’s a home-state event for Democratic nominee Tim Kaine against Republican Mike Pence of Indiana and any other qualifying candidate.
Oct. 9, 8 p.m.: The second presidential debate, a town hall involving the audience, hosted by Washington University in St. Louis.
Oct. 11: The last day to register to vote. For the requirements, see votetexas.gov.
Oct. 19, 8 p.m.: The final presidential debate, hosted in the University of Nevada, Las Vegas arena.
Oct. 24: The first day to vote.
Nov. 8: Election Day.
At that point, the longest campaign will come to an end.