Democratic National Committee announces lineup for first 2020 primary debate

The field of 20 candidates has been randomly split into two groups of 10 contenders for the two-night event in June

Published June 14, 2019 2:24PM (EDT)

Joe Biden; Kamala Harris; Elizabeth Warren; Bernie Sanders (AP/Getty)
Joe Biden; Kamala Harris; Elizabeth Warren; Bernie Sanders (AP/Getty)

The Democratic National Committee (DNC) announced the lineups for the first primary debate of the 2020 Democratic nominating contest, after a random drawing Friday in New York.

To accommodate the historically large field of candidates, the first televised debates will be held on two consecutive nights, with 10 candidates taking the stage for each two-hour debates on June 26 and June 27.

The first group of 10 appearing on June 26, in alphabetical order:

  • New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker*
  • Former HUD Secretary Julián Castro*
  • New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio
  • Former Maryland Rep. John Delaney
  • Hawaii Rep. Tulsi Gabbard*
  • Washington Gov. Jay Inslee*
  • Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar*
  • Former Texas Rep. Beto O'Rourke*
  • Ohio Rep. Tim Ryan
  • Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren*

The second group of 10 appearing on June 27, in alphabetical order:

  • Colorado Sen. Michael Bennet
  • Former Vice President Joe Biden*
  • South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete Buttigieg*
  • New York Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand*
  • California Sen. Kamala Harris*
  • Former Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper
  • Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders*
  • California Rep. Eric Swalwell
  • Writer and spiritual guru Marianne Williamson*
  • Entrepreneur Andrew Yang*

It has not yet been determined where the candidates will stand on stage each night.

The DNC, which is sanctioning each of the debates, set two paths for candidates to qualify — fundraising or polling. For fundraising, candidates had to tally up at least 65,000 unique campaign donors, with a minimum of 200 different donors in at least 20 states. For polling, candidates had to garner at least 1 percent support in three national or early-state polls.

The candidates marked with an asterisk (*) above qualified through both polling and fundraising thresholds, according to the DNC. The others qualified through polling only.

The candidates who did not meet the threshold for the first primary debate include: Montana Gov. Steve Bullock; former Alaska Sen. Mike Gravel; Miramar, Fla., Mayor Wayne Messam; and Massachusetts Rep. Seth Moulton.

A second round of debates will be hosted in late July and will have the same qualifying rules as the upcoming June debates. That means the aforementioned 20 candidates have already met the qualification threshold for the July debates, which will be held in Detroit. However, the stage lineup has not been determined for the July debates, so additional candidates — like Bullock, Gravel, Messam or Moulton — could make the stage for next month's showdown.

The DNC has said it will limit the total number of participants in the debates to 20 candidates. If more than 20 contenders qualify for the second round, the DNC said it would implement further restrictions on debate criteria.

The third and fourth rounds of debates, which will be held in the fall, will have a higher threshold to qualify than the summer debates, the DNC said. Like the first two presidential debates, the September debate and a fourth, to be held in October, will have 10 participants each. Candidates will need to notch 2 percent support in four approved polls and obtain 130,000 donors, with a minimum of 400 unique donors in at least 20 states.

In total, the DNC plans to host 12 primary debates during the 2020 primary cycle.

By Shira Tarlo

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