NBC has determined which 2020 Democratic candidates will appear with each other on the Miami stage later this month for the first Democratic National Committee debates. A total of 20 candidates will participate across two nights (June 26 and 27) with 10 on in each night.
The network broke down the two-night contest this way:
The first night will feature Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ), Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), former Rep. Beto O’Rourke (D-TX), Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), former Rep. John Delaney (D-MD), Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI), former HUD Sec. Julian Castro, Rep. Tim Ryan (D-OH), New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, and Gov. Jay Inslee (D-WA).
The second night will feature former Vice President Joe Biden, Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA), Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT), South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg, Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Sen. Michael Bennet (D-CO), author Marianne Williamson, Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-CA), entrepreneur Andrew Yang, and former Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper sharing a debate stage.
The lineups were determined via an in-person draw at NBC headquarters on Friday with a representative from NBC News Standards & Practices conducting the lottery.
A representative from each qualifying campaign was invited to be there alongside DNC officials. Candidates were divided into two groups: Those who polled on average at or above 2 percent through midnight on Wednesday, June 12, and those who polled on average below 2 percent through midnight on Wednesday. That was followed by a random draw that placed the candidates in their respective nights.
Candidate podium placement will be announced at a later time, based on polling.
A majority of the 2020 candidates did qualify for the debates, by either hitting 1 percent in three qualifying polls or accruing 65,000 unique donors by June 12. However, Montana Governor Steve Bullock, former Alaska Sen. Mike Gravel, Rep. Seth Moulton (D-MA) and Miramar, Florida mayor Wayne Messam did not.
Bullock’s campaign has been especially vocal about the process, including a late change about a qualifying poll that hurt his chances of getting in. His campaign has charged that the process penalized him for entering the race late after finishing a Montana legislative session in which he was working on Medicaid expansion. Bullock’s campaign released an ad on Friday featuring a Montanan calling the decision “horse shit.”
For those who did qualify, there are some likely dynamics that will emerge as the massive field looks for ways to draw contrasts to Biden, the current frontrunner.
Sanders, who will appear in the same debate as the ex-veep, has already contrasted himself with Biden on a number of issues and implicitly criticized a “middle ground” approach for Democratic candidates.
Buttigieg has emphasized generational change as a hallmark of his campaign, seen as an inherent criticism of a return-to-normalcy promised by the Biden campaign.
Most of the field also took issue Biden’s seeming flip-flop on the Hyde Amendment, which could likely come up during his night, in addition to the notion he has presented that Republicans will work with a Democratic president if Trump were to be defeated.
Sen. Warren is the only candidate polling in the top five of the whole field who did not make the same stage as Biden.
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