Here’s What You Need to Know About the 2020 Democratic Primary Debates

The 2020 presidential race is in full swing, and there’s a mind-boggling number of Democratic primary candidates vying for the party’s official spot. Luckily for voters, the first debates are also coming up soon. Here, everything you need to know.

When is the first debate?

The first Democratic primary debate will take place over June 26 and June 27 in Miami, Florida, with lineups for each night chosen at random. Both will begin at 9 P.M. EST and will take place at the Adrienne Arsht Center. NBC News, MSNBC, and Telemundo will be hosting those debates, and NBC News recently announced that the moderators will be Savannah Guthrie, Lester Holt, Chuck Todd, Rachel Maddow and José Diaz-Balart.

NBC News also reported that there will be a total of 12 debates during the Democratic primary season, and the June debate will be the first of six scheduled for 2019. The second debate of the year will be hosted by CNN in Detroit on July 30 and 31, and the third debate will be hosted by ABC News on September 12 and 13.

How can I watch it?

According to NBC, the June debates will be streaming online for free on,, the NBC News app, and Telemundo’s digital platforms.

Is everyone debating?

Not necessarily. The Democratic National Committee has announced that candidates have two paths to qualifying for the first and second debates:

  1. “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.” (Read more about the specific polling restrictions here.)
  2. “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.”

    However, if more than 20 candidates qualify, the top 20 will be selected with a method that “gives primacy to candidates meeting both thresholds, followed by the highest polling average, followed by the most unique donors.”

    And after the first two debates, things get even trickier. To qualify for the third and fourth debates, which will take place in September and October, candidates will need to meet two requirements:

    1. 130,000 unique donors, with a minimum of 400 unique donors per state in at least 20 U.S. states
    2. Register at least 2% support in four qualifying polls released between June 28 and August 28.

      So, who has qualified so far?

      According to CNN, 20 candidates have qualified for the first debate, based on the DNC’s standards: Bernie Sanders, Pete Buttigieg, Kamala Harris, Elizabeth Warren, Beto O’Rourke, Andrew Yang, Joe Biden, Cory Booker, Julián Castro, Tulsi Gabbard, Amy Klobuchar, John Delaney, Kirsten Gillibrand, John Hickenlooper, Jay Inslee, Tim Ryan, Eric Swalwell, Marianne Williamson, Bill de Blasio, and Michael Bennet.

      But it is possible that more candidates could end up qualifying in time for the debates. will continue to update this post.


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