First Democratic presidential primary debates airing June 26-27

Last year, Democratic National Committee (DNC) Chair Tom Perez announced that his goals for the Democratic presidential primary debates are to give the grassroots a bigger voice than ever before,  showcase our candidates on an array of media platforms, present an opportunity for vigorous discussion about issues, ideas and solutions, and reach as many potential voters as possible.  Perez announced 12 presidential primary debates to be held over the course of the 2020 cycle, with the first two occurring in June and July of 2019.

The DNC will partner with NBC News, MSNBC and Telemundo for the first debate and CNN for the second debate.  Both debates will be streamed online for free.

The lineups for the first Democratic primary debates have been set. Twenty of the 23 contenders will participate in the first debate, a two-night event which will be held at the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts in Miami, Florida. The debate will be broadcast live on NBC, MSNBC and Telemundo. Both debates will run from 9 to 11 p.m.

Night 1: Wednesday, June 26th Night 2: Thursday, June 27th
Elizabeth Warren Joe Biden
Beto O’Rourke Bernie Sanders
Cory Booker Kamala Harris
Amy Klobuchar Pete Buttigieg
John Delaney Kirsten Gillibrand
Tulsi Gabbard Michael Bennet
Julian Castro Marianne Williamson
Tim Ryan Eric Swalwell
Bill de Blasio Andrew Yang
Jay Inslee John Hickenlooper

The second round of debates will be held July 30-31.

Participation Qualifiers 

The DNC also announced the qualification criteria for candidates’ participation in the first two debates – a two-path system that employs both a polling threshold and a grassroots fundraising threshold, and uses the two measures in combination in the event that more than 20 candidates qualify. Democratic candidates may qualify for the first and second debate by meeting one of the two following sets of criteria:

  • Polling Method: Register 1% or more support in three polls (which may be national polls, or polls in Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina, and/or Nevada) publicly released between January 1, 2019, and 14 days prior to the date of the Organization Debate.  Qualifying polls will be limited to those sponsored by one or more of the following organizations/institutions:Associated Press, ABC News, CBS News, CNN, Des Moines Register, Fox News, Las Vegas Review Journal, Monmouth University, NBC News, New York Times, National Public Radio (NPR), Quinnipiac University, Reuters, University of New Hampshire, Wall Street Journal, USA Today, Washington Post, Winthrop University.  Any candidate’s three qualifying polls must be conducted by different organizations, or if by the same organization, must be in different geographical areas.

  • Grassroots Fundraising Method. Candidates may qualify for the debate by demonstrating that the campaign has received donations from at least (1) 65,000 unique donors; and (2) a minimum of 200 unique donors per state in at least 20 U.S. states.  To demonstrate that the fundraising threshold has been reached, candidates must provide verifiable evidence, which they may do by authorizing ActBlue and/or NGP VAN to provide that evidence.

  • If more than 20 candidates qualify for the debate, the top 20 candidates will be selected using a methodology that gives primacy to candidates meeting both thresholds, followed by the highest polling average, followed by the most unique donors.

“As Chair of the DNC, I am committed to running an open and transparent primary process.  To that end, we’ve spent months working with media partners to provide this unprecedented opportunity for candidates and voters to get to know each other.  Because campaigns are won on the strength of their grassroots, we also updated the threshold, giving all types of candidates the opportunity to reach the debate stage and giving small-dollar donors a bigger voice in the primary than ever before,” said Perez.

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