DemDaily: Debate Download

September 12, 2019

Tonight is the Democratic National Committee's third Democratic primary debate, one of 12 official party debates over the course of the 2020 presidential cycle.

The televised event will be held in Houston, Texas and hosted by ABC, in partnership with Univision. Unlike the previous debates, which spread a large field of 20 candidates over two consecutive nights, the third is narrowed to one night of ten.

What to Expect
Second tier candidates can once again be expected to use the limelight to distinguish themselves and woo support for their campaigns. Although all have already qualified for the October debate, they will need to justify their continued presence in the race over the next month as fundraising numbers continue to drop in some camps.

Tonight's Candidates, in order of the Lineup (Image: MSNBC)

As the frontrunner, Joe Biden, who came under heavy attack in the July Detroit debate, will once again be the focus. Similarly, Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders, who are nipping at Biden's heels in the polls, will share the stage for the first time with the former Vice President. Watchers are looking for an exchange between Biden and Warren, if not Sanders -- most likely on the subject of Medicare for All.

They are more likely, however, to focus on President Trump's record and demonstrating their contrasting vision on issues like the economy and foreign policy as the presumed general election nominee.

Homestate candidates Julian Castro and Beto O'Rourke can be expected to emphasize the importance of Texas, an emerging battleground state, to the 2020 contest. O'Rourke and Pete Buttigieg, who are frequently pitted against each other in their quest for the "generational change" vote, are also on the watch list. Then there is Andrew Yang, whose star is rising, and who has promised to do "something no presidential candidate has ever done before in history."

How It Works
The first and second debates fell under the DNC's new debate requirements, announced in February, of meeting a polling threshold of 1% or a fundraising requirement of at least 65,000 individual donors.

For the third and fourth debates, however, the DNC upped the ante, automatically narrowing the field. Qualifiers had to meet both the polling requirement of now 2% in four major polls, and the grassroots fundraising qualifications, now doubled to 130,000.

Candidates will have one minute and 15 seconds to answer questions, and 45 seconds for rebuttals.

   September 12, 2019
DateThursday, September 12th
Time8:00pm -11:00pm ET
LocationHouston, Texas. Texas Southern University
CandidatesJoe Biden, Cory Booker, Pete Buttigieg, Julian Castro, Kamala Harris, Amy Klobuchar, Beto O'Rourke, Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren and Andrew Yang
NetworksABC News, in partnership with Univision
ModeratorsABC anchors George Stephanopoulos and David Muir, ABC News correspondent Linsey Davis and Univision anchor Jorge Ramos.
Live StreamingABC News Live, ABCNews website and apps, as well as Hulu Live, The Roku Channel, and Facebook Watch. DNC Website
1) Meet a 2% polling threshold in at least four separate national or early primary state polls in Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina, and/or Nevadaand 2) Receive donations from 130,000 individual donors and a minimum of 400 unique donors in at least 20 states
Absent from the Stage: Senator Michael Bennet (CO), Mayor Bill de Blasio (NY), Governor Steve Bullock (MT), former Congressman John Delaney (MD), Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard (HI), Mayor Wayne Messam (FL), Congressman Tim Ryan (OH), former Congressman Joe Sestak (PA), billionaire activist Tom Steyer and author Marianne Williamson (CA).


Out of the Race: Over the last month six candidates have ended their campaigns: Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (NY), former Senator Mike Gravel (AK), former Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper, Washington State Governor Jay Inslee, Congressman Seth Moulton (MA) and Congressman Eric Swalwell (CA).

The fourth debate has been scheduled for Tuesday, October 15th in Ohio. Tom Steyer, this week, became the 11th candidate to qualify. Should the DNC decide to split the candidates, a second night will be added on Wednesday, October 16th.

Why is Texas important? DemDaily: Turning Texas 8/9/19
The 2020 Presidential Primary Calendar: Updated! 9/12/19

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Kimberly Scott

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