Here’s Everything We Know So Far About The Democratic Debates

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September 13, 2019 2:35 p.m.

‘Tis the season for the whole horde of presidential hopefuls to meet on the debate stage and use their few allotted minutes to try to sell the American people on their candidacy.

Here’s everything we know about the debates — who’s in them, what it will take for others to get in, the format, the moderators — so far.


The First Debate

June 26 and 27 in Miami, 9 p.m. – 11 p.m. ET

Who’s hosting it? NBC, MSNBC and Telemundo

Who’s moderating? Savannah Guthrie, Lester Holt, Rachel Maddow, Chuck Todd and José Diaz-Balart

Format? Each night was a two-hour affair featuring 10 candidates — so, 20 candidates across two nights.

Qualifications? Earning at least one percent in three national or early-state polls from January 1 to two weeks before the debate, or getting 65,000 unique donations across 20 states with at least 200 individual donors per state.

In the case of more than 20 candidates meeting these qualifications, a candidate who met both the polling and donation criteria would have gotten preference. If that didn’t winnow the field, it would have come down to who had the higher polling average.

Who’s In? Former Vice President Joe Biden, Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ), South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg, former Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julián Castro, Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI), Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA), Washington Gov. Jay Inslee, Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), former Rep. Beto O’Rourke (D-TX), Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT), Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), tech entrepreneur Andrew Yang, motivational speaker Marianne Williamson, New York Mayor Bill de Blasio, former Rep. John Delaney (D-MD), former Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper, Rep. Tim Ryan (D-OH), Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-CA) and Sen. Michael Bennet (D-CO).


The Second Debate

July 30 and 31 in Detroit, 8 p.m. ET

Who’s hosting it? CNN

Who’s moderating? Dana Bash, Don Lemon and Jake Tapper are moderating both nights

Format? Same as first

Qualifications? Same as first

Who’s In? It was the same field as last time, except that Montana Gov. Steve Bullock is taking the spot of Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-CA), who suspended his campaign.


The Third Debate

Sept. 12 and 13 in Houston 

Who’s hosting it? ABC and Univision

Who’s moderating? Chief anchor George Stephanopoulos, “World News Tonight” anchor David Muir, ABC News correspondent Linsey Davis and Univision anchor Jorge Ramos

Format? Only 10 candidates qualified, so it was the first one-night debate.

Qualifications? The DNC raised the bar for the third debate. This time, candidates had to meet both criteria, doubled from the first two debates: at least two percent in four qualifying polls and 130,000 individual donors (400 unique donors per state in at least 20 states).

Who’s In?

Booker, Biden, Sanders, Warren, Harris, Buttigieg, O’Rourke, Castro, Yang and Klobuchar took part in the debate.

The Fourth Debate 

October 15 (and possibly 16) at Otterbein University in Ohio

Who’s hosting it? CNN and the New York Times

Who’s moderating? CNN’s Anderson Cooper and Erin Burnett, plus Times national editor Marc Lacey

Format? Still unclear. Eleven candidates have qualified though, so we’d put our money on a two-night affair.

Qualifications? Same as the September debate.

Who’s in? So far, all 10 candidates from the last debate plus billionaire Tom Steyer have qualified. Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI) and author Marianne Williamson have surpassed the donor requirement but not the polling one.


There will be two more debates in 2019 and six more in 2020, one per month until April. Some of the latter half of the debates will take place in Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina and Nevada.

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