Democratic Debate Schedule: When Is the Next Debate in 2020?

Democratic Debate

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The sixth Democratic debate is tonight. But we still have a long way to go and a lot of debates to watch as candidates hope to win the Democratic primary nomination. Here’s a look at what we know so far about the next debate and how many are left.

The Next Democratic Debate Is in January & Might Overlap with the Impeachment Trial


Tonight’s sixth debate is hosted by PBS NewsHour and Politico in Los Angeles.

The fifth debate was hosted by The Washington Post and MSNBC. The fourth debate was hosted by CNN. The September debate was hosted by ABC and Univision. The DNC skipped August, but the July debates were hosted by CNN (yes, CNN’s hosted twice) and the first debates in June were hosted by NBC. But what happens after tonight? The schedule will be packed for a while.

The next debate – the seventh – will take place next month on January 14, 2020 in Iowa, Politico reported. That debate will be hosted by CNN and The Des Moines Register. The debate will be at Drake University in Des Moines. It might be affected by an impeachment trial, however. An anonymous official told Politico that the DNC will work with anyone affected by the trial, although it’s not clear what that means.

At this time, it’s not known if the January debate (or any of the debates following it) will have stricter requirements.

The qualifications were stricter for the December debate, resulting in a narrowing down of candidates to just seven on the debate stage. A candidate must get at least 4 percent in four qualifying polls (nationally or in early voting states)  between October 16 and December 12, or at least 6 percent in two early state polls (that’s Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina, or Nevada.) They must also have donations from at least 200,000 unique donors, which includes 800 unique donors in at least 20 states.

Qualifying polls are limited to the following sponsors, according to Ballotpedia:

  • Associated Press
  • ABC News/Washington Post
  • CBS News/YouGov
  • CNN
  • Des Moines Register
  • Fox News
  • Monmouth University
  • National Public Radio
  • NBC News/Wall Street Journal
  • NBC News/Marist
  • New York Times
  • Quinnipiac University
  • University of New Hampshire
  • USA Today/Suffolk University
  • Winthrop University

Then on February 7, ABC News and WMUR-TV and Apple News will host a debate in New Hampshire at St. Anselm College, Politico noted.

On February 19, NBC  News and MSNBC will co-host a debate with The Nevada Independent in Las Vegas.

On February 25, CBS News and the Congressional Black Caucus Institute, partnering with Twitter, will host a debate at The Gaillard Center in South Carolina.

From now on, there will be at least one debate every month until April 2020. But once the primary elections and caucuses start happening, it’s not clear if the debates themselves, the rules, or how they are held will change. 

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