DNC names 20 candidates who will appear on stage for the first 2020 presidential debate

The first televised debates will be spread over two nights, with 10 candidates taking the stage June 26 and June 27

Published June 14, 2019 8:50AM (EDT)


The Democratic National Committee (DNC) announced Thursday a list of the 20 presidential candidates who qualified to appear on stage later this month at the first primary debate of the 2020 Democratic nominating contest.

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.

Here are the candidates who the DNC said have qualified for the debate stage, in alphabetical order:

  • Colorado Sen. Michael Bennet
  • Former Vice President Joe Biden*
  • New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker*
  • South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete Buttigieg*
  • Former HUD Secretary Julián Castro*
  • New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio
  • Former Maryland Rep. John Delaney
  • Hawaii Rep. Tulsi Gabbard*
  • New York Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand*
  • California Sen. Kamala Harris*
  • Former Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper
  • Washington Gov. Jay Inslee*
  • Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar*
  • Former Texas Rep. Beto O'Rourke*
  • Ohio Rep. Tim Ryan
  • Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders*
  • California Rep. Eric Swalwell
  • Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren*
  • Writer and spiritual guru Marianne Williamson*
  • Entrepreneur Andrew Yang*

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.

Ten candidates are set to appear on stage on each night of the debates on June 26 and 27, which will take place at the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts in Miami. The DNC will hold a random drawing Friday to divide the 20 candidates into two groups of 10. It will then announce the lineup for each night. Both nights will have the same format.

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.

The DNC plans to host 12 primary debates during the 2020 primary cycle.

By Shira Tarlo

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