Who Is Kevin Cooney? A Quick Guide to CBS Democratic Debate Moderator


Long-time anchor for Iowa local news outlet KCCI Kevin Cooney will join fellow moderators John Dickerson, Nancy Cordes and Kathie Obradovich during the second Democratic primary debate on Tuesday at Drake University in Iowa. Mic, an exclusive online partner with CBS News for the debate, will live stream footage of the main debate, which begins at 9:00 p.m. Eastern.

Cooney is a native of Des Moines, Iowa, which is also the location of Tuesday night's debate. A graduate of Iowa State University, Cooney began working full time for KCCI in 1974 and became the news outlet's lead anchor in 1982.


In the early '90's, Cooney covered the release and return of reporters Thomas Sutherland and Terry Anderson during the Lebanon hostage crisis, which was one of world's most-watched stories at the time.

"We covered the story live via international satellite for the first time in Iowa broadcasting history," Cooney explained, per KCCI. "Terry was a classmate of mine at Iowa State and we worked together at KRNT [later rebranded KCCI-TV] early in our careers. And Tom Sutherland is also an ISU alumnus. His father-in-law was the founder of Living History Farms. It was a touching reunion to see these two men with their loved ones."

In May, Cooney announced his plans to retire from his post as KCCI's head anchor.

"Kevin will always be remembered for the big stories he's covered, but his real legacy is the thousands of lives he's impacted as KCCI's senior anchor," said KCCI General Manager Brian Sather, KCCI reported.

Cooney and his fellow moderators at Tuesday night's debate will be charged with pressing the Democratic party's three Presidential candidates — former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders and former Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley — on everything from foreign affairs and national security, to the economy, immigration and gun laws, according to a poll of likely topics published by the International Business Times.