Five NBC, MSNBC and Telemundo stars will put questions to 20 Democratic presidential hopefuls later this month at the first 2020 primary debate. This week the network announced that “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 will moderate the debate in Miami on June 26 and 27. The debate will be simulcast on the three television stations and live-streamed through their streaming affiliates.
Twenty candidates met the qualifications set by the Democratic National Committee based on grassroots fundraising success and standing in polls. The nights the candidates will appear on stage were determined by random drawing. Bennett, de Blasio, Delaney, Hickenlooper, Ryan, and Swalwell failed to meet the fundraising criteria and qualified based on polling alone. All the other candidates who will appear on stage met both criteria.
The first night, Wednesday, June 26, will start at 6 pm Arizona time and the candidates on stage will be: Sen. Cory Booker, Sen. Elizabeth Warren, former Texas Rep. Beto O’Rourke, Sen. Amy Klobuchar, former Rep. John Delaney, Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, former US Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julian Castro, Rep. Tim Ryan, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, and Washington Gov. Jay Inslee.
The lineup for the following night, June 27, also starting at 6 pm will be: Sen. Bernie Sanders, Sen. Kamala Harris, former Vice President Joe Biden, South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg, Sen. Michael Bennet, author Marianne Williamson, Rep. Eric Swalwell, Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, entrepreneur Andrew Yang, and former Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper.
Lester Holt will moderate throughout the two hours each night of the debate, while the other four moderators will each get an hour each night. Guthrie and Díaz-Balart will moderate the first hour; Todd and Maddow the second.
The next debate — again, two nights with the same group of candidates, will be in July on CNN. Following that debate, the criteria for qualification toughens and we expect a smaller field for the debate in September.
Postscript, June 18: Who’s standing next to whom on June 26th and 27th.