Democratic Debate Rules & Format 2019

Getty The highly anticipated Democratic debates will take place in Miami on June 26-27.

The 2019 Democratic debates on June 26 and 27 will feature 20 candidates split up between the two nights in Miami. With such a crowded field of candidates, the Democratic debate rules and format play an important role in ensuring every candidate gets an equal opportunity to present their ideas to voters.

The hope for both debates is to have an equal interest which is why the field was not simply split among favorites and long-shot candidates. NPR detailed how the field was divided to ensure each night featured some of the top candidates.

Desperate to avoid the 2016 Republican primary field’s “undercard” debate stages, the Democratic National Committee and NBC divided the candidates into two groups, those polling at 2% or above and those polling below 2%. Through random drawing, the candidates in each group were evenly split between the two nights.

Elizabeth Warren headlines the first debate, while Joe Biden and Bernie Sanders share the stage on June 27.

Candidates Will Have 60 Seconds to Respond to Questions & 30 Seconds for Follow-Ups

According to NBC News, candidates will receive 60 seconds to respond to questions and 30 seconds for follow-ups. With such a large field of candidates, it is important that the rules are strictly enforced by the moderators. Savannah Guthrie, Lester Holt, Chuck Todd, Rachel Maddow and José Diaz-Balart are the moderators for debates.

Each debate will last two hours from 9 p.m. to 11 p.m. Eastern. There are no opening remarks, but each candidate will have an opportunity for a brief closing address, per NBC News. There will also be four commercial breaks during each of the two-hour debates.

Biden is hoping to use Thursday’s debate as an opportunity to lengthen his lead on the field, while lesser-known candidates aim to use the stage as a way to gain traction. The dilemma for candidates not named Biden, Sanders or Warren is the number of participants in each debate makes it more challenging to leave a lasting impression with such a limited opportunity. As pointed out, each candidate would get about 12 minutes to speak if the debate time was equally divided among the participants.

Here is a look at the 20 candidates participating along with the sechdule for the June 26-27 debates, per NPR.

Democratic Debate Candidates: Night 1, June 26

Cory Booker Senator From New Jersey
Julian Castro Fmr. Secretary of Housing
Bill de Blasio New York City Mayor
John Delaney Fmr. Maryland Rep.
Tulsi Gabbard Hawaii Rep.
Jay Inslee Washington Governor
Amy Klobuchar Minnesota Senator
Beto O’Rourke Fmr. Texas Rep.
Tim Ryan Ohio Rep.
Elizabeth Warren Massachusetts Senator

Democratic Debate Candidates: Night 2, June 27

Michael Bennet Colorado Senator
Joe Biden Fmr. Vice President
Pete Buttigieg Mayor of South Bend, IN.
Kirsten Gillibrand New York Senator
Kamala Harris California Senator
John Hickenlooper Fmr. Colorado Governor
Bernie Sanders Vermont Senator
Eric Swalwell California Rep.
Marianne Williamson Entrepreneur
Andrew Yang Venture for America Founder


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