NBC has set the lineups for the first round of the 2020 Democrat presidential candidate debates. Twenty candidates raised enough campaign money to qualify for the debate stage. The field has been split into 2 groups of ten, each set to debate on a different night. The debates will take place on June 26 and 27 in Miami, Florida.
Campaign officials attended a random drawing, held at NBC’s 30 Rock offices in New York, for the debate slots. The drawing was implemented in an attempt to spread out the front-runners and divide each night’s lineup between the candidates polling above and below 2%. The drawing was closed to the press.
Here are the line-ups as decided by the random drawing:
June 26: Cory Booker, Julián Castro, Bill de Blasio, John Delaney, Tulsi Gabbard, Jay Inslee, Amy Klobuchar, Beto O’Rourke, Tim Ryan, and Elizabeth Warren
June 27: Michael Bennet, Joe Biden, Pete Buttigieg, Kirsten Gillibrand, Kamala Harris, John Hickenlooper, Bernie Sanders, Eric Swalwell, Marianne Williamson, and Andrew Yang
The DNC is still crying foul, believing the drawing was stacked despite NBC claiming it was random. They’re also being accused of creating a tiered debate structure by holding the Biden-Sanders-Harris-Buttigieg debate on Thursday night, which will likely maximize viewership over Wednesday night’s debate.
Lesser known candidates stand to gain the most from qualifying for the debate stage, irrespective of which event in which they appear. Gillibrand, Hickenlooper, Gabbard, Delaney, Inslee, Bennet, de Blasio, Williamson, and Swalwell are all polling at 0% in the most recent Qunnipiac poll, so have nothing to lose and everything to gain. Each debate is set to run for two hours, giving each participant very little time to get their point across. However, if viewership comes close to the 24 million viewers who watched the Republican debates in 2015, it may be an excellent opportunity for these candidates to gain some traction with potential voters.
Five news personalities from NBC, MSNBC and Telemundo, will ask questions of the 20 presidential hopefuls. They include:
- “NBC Nightly News” anchor Lester Holt,
- “Today” co-anchor Savannah Guthrie,
- “Meet the Press” moderator Chuck Todd,
- MSNBC prime-time host Rachel Maddow, and
- “Noticias Telemundo” and “NBC Nightly News Saturday” anchor José Díaz-Balart
Diaz-Balart will moderate both nights of the debate.