What happens if more than 20 Democrats qualify for the first presidential primary debate?

The Democratic National Committee (DNC) announced that the first set of Democratic presidential primary debates will be held in the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts in Miami on June 26 and 27, 2019.
 
Author Marianne Williamson (D) announced last week that she had met the fundraising threshold to qualify for the first debates by having more than 65,000 unique contributors. A candidate can also qualify for the debates by reaching 1 percent support or more in three national or early voting state polls.
 
A maximum of 20 candidates—10 per night of the debate—will be able to participate, according to the DNC. With Williamson being the 18th Democratic candidate to qualify, there are two places left on the debate stage and four more notable Democratic candidates competing for a spot.
 
If more than 20 candidates qualify, the DNC will use the following three tiebreakers, in order, to determine who will participate:
  • Candidates that meet both the polling and fundraising thresholds
  • Candidates with the highest average poll performance
  • Candidates with the largest number of unique donors
The four Democratic candidates who have not yet qualified are Sen. Michael Bennet (D-Colo.), former Sen. Mike Gravel (D-Alaska), Miramar Mayor Wayne Messam (D), and Rep. Seth Moulton (D-Mass.).
 
Candidates have until June 12 to meet the qualifying thresholds for the first set of debates.



About the author

Emily Aubert

Emily Aubert is a staff writer at Ballotpedia and can be reached at emily.aubert@ballotpedia.org

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