DemDaily: The Download on the Debate

June 26, 2019

20 million viewers. 600 journalists on the ground. 10 candidates.

Tonight kicks off the first Democratic presidential debate when ten of 20 primary contenders will grace the stage for night one of the debate.

Each candidate will have approximately eight minutes total to distinguish themselves through signature policy ideas, charisma and, potentially, attacks on others.

Candidates will have 60 seconds to answer questions and 30 seconds to respond to follow-ups. There will be no opening statements, but candidates will have a chance to deliver closing remarks.

How It Works
The Democratic National Committee sets the guidelines for the anticipated 12 official party debates over the course of the 2020 presidential cycle, six of which will be held in 2019 and six next year.

The Onstage Line Up (Image: MSNBC)

The debate requirements, for the first time, add a grassroots fundraising metric to the mix, in addition to the traditional polling threshold. To accommodate the large field, the debates will occur over two consecutive nights in prime time, and capped at 20 candidates.

In deciding the final 20 debate participants, candidates crossing both the polling and fundraising thresholds rank over candidates who only crossed one. The remaining debaters qualify based on polling performance.

Qualifying candidates are split into two groups, those polling at or above 2%, and those below, and will be randomly and evenly divided among the two nights. Within each night, candidates are positioned from the center-out according to their polling numbers.

(Image: MSNBC)

The DNC determines the qualifiers, and the host network conducts a manual draw of names from a box to determine the order. Representatives of each campaign are invited to view the draw in person.

The candidates, and the questioners, will historically be the most diverse group on a presidential debate stage. In adhering to the DNC's request, media partners have committed to having at least one woman and one person of color moderate each debate.

Qualifications: Debates 1 & 2
1) Meet a 1% polling threshold in at least three separate national or early primary state polls in Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina, and/or Nevada, or
2) Receive donations from 65,000 individual donors, with a minimum of 200 unique donors in at least 20 states.


        June 26th & 27th Presidential Primary Debate
DateWednesday, June 26th & Thursday, June 27th
Time9:00pm - 11:00pm ET
Candidates /June 26thBooker, Castro, de Blasio, Delaney, Gabbard, Inslee, Klobuchar, O'Rourke, Ryan, Warren
Candidates /June 27thBennet, Biden, Buttigieg, Gillibrand, Harris, Hickenlooper, Sanders, Swalwell, Williamson, Yang
NetworksNBC, MSNBC and Telemundo
ModeratorsLester Holt, Savannah Guthrie and Jose Diaz-Balart in the first hour. Lester Holt, Chuck Todd and Rachel Maddow in the second hour
Live,, NBC News Mobile App, OTT apps, and Telemundo's digital platforms. DNC Website
Qualifications1% polling threshold in three approved polls between, January 1, 2019 and 14 days prior to the date of the debate, or 65,000 individual donations from a minimum of 200 unique donors in 20 states

Polls must be among approved national or early state polls in Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina, and/or Nevada. Any qualifying poll must include a full list of presidential candidates for respondents.

Those who did not qualify for the first debate include Governor Steve Bullock (MT), Miramar, Florida Mayor Wayne Messam, Congressman Seth Moulton (MA) and former Alaska Senator Mike Gravel. A 25th candidate, former Congressman Joe Sestak (PA) entered the race June 23rd.

DateTuesday, July 30th and Wednesday, July 31st. Time: TBD
LocationThe Fox Theatre, Detroit, Michigan
NetworksCNN, CNN International, and CNN en Español
Live StreamingCNN's website, mobile apps and connected TVs via CNNgo. DNC website
Qualifications1% polling threshold in three approved polls, between January 1, 2019 and 14 days prior to the date of the debate, or 65,000 individual donations from a minimum of 200 unique donors in 20 states

Qualifications: Debates 3 & 4
To qualify for the debate stage, primary candidates must meet both the new polling requirements and the grassroots fundraising qualifications, which have doubled.
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 Nevada, and
2) Receive donations from 130,000 individual donors, with a minimum of 400 unique donors in at least 20 states.

September 12th & 13th Presidential Primary Debate
DateThursday, September 12th and Friday, September 13th. Time and Location TBD
NetworksABC News, in partnership with Univision
Live StreamingABC News Live, ABCNews website and apps, as well as Hulu Live, The Roku Channel, and Facebook Watch. DNC Website
Qualifications2% polling threshold in four approved polls between June 28th and August 28th, and 130,000 individual donations from a minimum of 400 unique donors in 20 states

The October, November and December 2019 debates are yet to be scheduled.

DemList will keep you informed.

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Kimberly Scott

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