Presidential Debate Update

The next Presidential Debate is September 12, starting at 5 pm Arizona time. Late last month, the Democratic National Committee voted to deny the request of many Democrats to schedule a climate-specific debate in addition to the 12 debates it announced in January 2019. Our local Democratic National Committee Member, Doug Ballard, voted with the losing side at the DNC and in favor of making room in the schedule for a debate on the Climate Crisis. You can still hear the leading candidates’ positions on our Climate Crisis, thanks to CNN.

Climate Crisis Townhall

Under DNC rules, candidates cannot appear on the same stage with another candidate in debates sponsored by others than the DNC. However, CNN has organized a “Climate Crisis Townhall,” during which 10 of the top Democratic contenders will appear one after the other on stage to present their plans and answer questions posed by a studio audience, CNN’s Chief Climate Correspondent Bill Weir, and other CNN reporters. This event will take place this Wednesday, September 4. The candidate lineup spreads over a 7-hour period: 

  • Former Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julián Castro will be interviewed by CNN’s Wolf Blitzer at 2 p.m. AZ time
  • Businessman Andrew Yang, who will also be interviewed by Blitzer, will come on at 2:40 p.m. AZ time
  • California Sen. Kamala Harris will be interviewed by CNN’s Erin Burnett at 3:20 p.m. AZ time
  • Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar, who will also be interviewed by Burnett, will appear at 4 p.m. AZ time
  • Former Vice President Joe Biden will be interviewed by CNN’s Anderson Cooper at 5 p.m. AZ time
  • Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, who will also be interviewed by Cooper, will be on at 5:40 p.m. AZ time
  • Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren will be interviewed by CNN’s Chris Cuomo at 6:20 p.m. AZ time
  • South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg, who will also be interviewed by Cuomo at 7 p.m. AZ time
  • Former Rep. Beto O’Rourke will appear with CNN’s Don Lemon at 7:40 p.m.
  • New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker will also be interviewed by Lemon and will come on at 8:20 p.m. AZ time

Remaining DNC Debates

September 12: 5 pm on ABC

The DNC-sponsored debate on September 12 — the 3d in the 12 debate primary series — will have the same ten candidates on stage as those appearing on the Climate Townhall. The debate will be broadcast from Houston TX on ABC (Channel 15 in Northern Arizona) and on Univision (with Spanish translation) beginning at 5 pm, Arizona Time. The broadcast will also be available on the network’s streaming channel and on the website and apps, as well as Hulu Live, The Roku Channel, and Facebook Watch.

The polling and donor requirements from previous debates were increased for this debate from the lower numbers required for the June and July debates, thus reducing the field by half. To qualify candidates needed donations from 130,000 people spread over 20 states with at least 400 unique donors from each of those states AND show 2% support in 4 “qualifying polls.” 

qualifying polls defined
. A candidate needed to get at least two percent support in four different polls published from a list of approved pollsters between June 28 and August 28, which cannot be based on open-ended questions and may cover either the national level or one of the first four primary/caucus states (Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada, and South Carolina). Only one poll from each approved pollster counted towards meeting the criterion in each region. The approved pollsters were the Associated PressABC NewsCBS NewsCNNThe Des Moines RegisterFox NewsMonmouth UniversityNBC NewsThe New York TimesNational Public RadioQuinnipiac University, the University of New HampshireUSA TodayThe Wall Street JournalThe Washington Post, and Winthrop University. In contrast to the first two debates, polls published/sponsored by the Las Vegas Review-Journal and Reuters no longer counted towards meeting the criterion.

October 15 and 16 or October 15 alone

The 4th primary debate of 2019 will take place on October 15 if only 10 candidates qualify. The same qualification criteria apply as for the September debate, but candidates have more time to reach the standards set. So, all 10 candidates who are in the September debate will be back, but there may be more.

More Primary Debates Coming

There will be a debate in both November and December. Dates and qualification rules for these have not yet been announced. That leaves five more DNC sponsored debates to come in 2020. Watch this space.

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