ABC News Sets Moderators, Rules for Third Democratic Debate

Will Thorne

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ABC News has announced the moderators for the third Democratic debate, as well as the qualification rules.

The debate will be held on Thursday, Sept. 12, and will spill over to Friday, Sept. 13 if more than 10 candidates qualify. The moderating team will consist of chief anchor George Stephanopoulos, “World News Tonight” anchor and managing editor David Muir, ABC News correspondent Linsey Davis and Univision anchor Jorge Ramos.

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ABC News is partnering with Univision for the debate which will air live on both networks from Texas Southern University’s Health & PE Arena in Houston, Texas.

In order to qualify for the showdown, candidates must receive 2% or more support in at least four national polls, or polls conducted in the early-voting states of Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina and Nevada. They must also have received donations from at least 130,000 unique donors over the course of the election cycle, with a minimum of 400 unique donors per state in at least 20 states by August 28 in order to qualify. 

If more than 10 candidates qualify, as seems likely and was the case for the previous two rounds of debates, and the two-night scenario is required, ABC News will hold a selection event on Aug. 29 to randomly assign the candidates to each night. The format of the debate will be one minute and 15 seconds for direct responses to questions and 45 seconds for rebuttals, however, if the previous debates are anything to go by, the moderators may well have a difficult job on their hands keeping the candidates to those time limits. 

The previous Democratic debates in this election cycle, which aired on CNN and NBC, saw plenty of barbed comments flying back and forth, notably between Vice President Joe Biden and Senator Kamala Harris. Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders and Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren are also among the current frontrunners for the nomination.

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