Because of the large field, the first Presidential Primary debate will be held over two nights on June 26 and 27, broadcast from Miami, Florida. Which candidates appear which night will be determined by random drawing. The debate will be hosted by NBC, in partnership with MSNBC and Telemundo. The debate will also stream online free on NBC News’ digital platforms, including NBCNews.com, MSNBC.com, the NBC News Mobile App and OTT apps, in addition to Telemundo’s digital platforms.
The second debate will be held on July 30 and 31 and hosted by CNN. A third debate will be held in September and broadcast on ABC and Univision. The Democratic National Committee is requiring at least one female moderator at all debates.
Some months ago, the DNC announced that to qualify for the June and July debates, candidates need to register 1% or more support in three polls, or receive donations from at least 65,000 individual donors and a minimum of 200 unique donors per state in at least 20 states. To keep the debates manageable, if more than 20 candidates clear those qualifications, the participants will be chosen using a methodology that favors those who meet both criteria. If applying both criteria doesn’t reduce the field to 10 candidates per night, that will be followed by determining the highest polling average, which will be followed by the most unique donors.
Today, the DNC upped the ante for the September debate by doubling the criteria for donors to 130,000 and for polling performance to 2%. DNC Chair Tom Perez says the thresholds were developed to make sure candidates keep grassroots support top of mind. “That was designed with an understanding that if you want to win the presidency, you’ve got to have a grassroots strategy,” Perez told Vox.