The Daily Brew: The first presidential debate of the 2020 cycle is here!

Today’s Brew highlights the details regarding the first set of presidential debates + three Idaho school board members face an August 27 recall election  
The Daily Brew

Welcome to the Wednesday, June 26, Brew. Here’s what’s in store for you as you start your day:

  1. First Democratic presidential debate takes place tonight
  2. Voters to decide whether to recall three Idaho school board members
  3. Cabán wins election for Queens District Attorney

First Democratic presidential debate takes place tonight

The first Democratic presidential debate takes place tonight in Miami. Over the next two nights, 20 candidates—10 each night—will participate. This will be the first of 12 Democratic primary debates scheduled for the 2020 presidential election cycle. The Democratic National Committee (DNC) used a random drawing to distribute the candidates across both debate nights. 

The Democratic party is holding more primary debates and starting them earlier than the last election cycle. The first Democratic primary debate in the 2016 election was held on October 13, 2015, and the DNC sponsored nine debates altogether. There were 12 Republican debates last cycle and the first one took place August 6, 2015.

The highest-polling candidates in qualifying polls will be positioned in the center of the stage each night. Elizabeth Warren and Beto O’Rourke will be in the middle at tonight’s debate and Joe Biden and Bernie Sanders will be center stage on Thursday.

The debate will be hosted by NBC, MSNBC, and Telemundo and streamed on,, and all Telemundo digital platforms. It will be held from 9 p.m. to 11 p.m. ET. Candidates will have 60 seconds to answer questions posed by the moderators, and 30 seconds to reply to follow-up questions. Participants can make closing statements but there will be no opening remarks.

Here are the candidates who will be in tonight’s debate:

And here are the candidates who will be in Thursday night’s debate:

The candidates all met one or both qualifying thresholds to participate. Candidates qualified by receiving 1% support or more in three eligible national or early state polls—Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina, and/or Nevada. Candidates could also qualify by providing verifiable evidence that they received donations from at least 65,000 unique donors with a minimum of 200 donors per state in at least 20 states.

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Voters to decide whether to recall three Idaho school board members

This Friday, Ballotpedia will release its annual mid-year recall report, where we’ll take a closer look at the recall trends across the country so far this year, and compare them to prior years. Just to give you a small taste, here’s an update on a recent recall effort in Idaho. 

Recall efforts against Tim Winkle, Alicia McConkie, and Marianne Blackwell of the Middleton School District board of trustees in Idaho were certified by the Canyon County Elections Office earlier this month and will appear before voters on August 27.

Recall organizer David Morgan said the effort against Winkle and McConkie was prompted after they voted to accept the superintendent’s personnel recommendations—which did not renew the contract of the high school principal—at a May 6 board meeting. The recall petition against Blackwell said she “set an unprofessional and unacceptable precedent for school board trustees” and violated the board’s code of ethics.

Recall supporters also targeted another board member—Kirk Adams—but the petition was rejected by the county because he had not yet served 90 days in office. The school board’s fifth member resigned in April due to personal reasons.

Winkle said that since the decision not to renew the principal’s contract was a personnel matter, the board was limited in what they could share with the public. McConkie said she has served the best she could for the last two years and felt she was being targeted for recall over a single decision. Blackwell has not responded to the recall effort against her.

In order for the Middleton School District board members to be removed from office, a majority of voters must vote in favor in the recall election. Additionally, the number of voters who cast ballots in favor of the recall must also be higher than the total number of people who voted for the officeholders when they were last up for election. In the May 2017 election, 253 voters cast ballots in McConkie’s district and 82 cast ballots in Blackwell’s district. 

In 2018, Ballotpedia covered a total of 206 recall efforts against 299 elected officials.Of the 123 officials whose recalls made it to the ballot, 77 were recalled for a rate of 62.6 percent. That was higher than the 56.9 percent rate and 56.3 percent rate for 2017 and 2016 recalls, respectively.

Cabán wins election for Queens District Attorney

Public defender Tiffany Cabán won the Democratic primary election for Queens County District Attorney. Former Queens County District Attorney Richard Brown (D)-who announced in January that he would not run for re-election-died in May after serving in the office for 28 years. Queens County is the state designation for the Borough of Queens in New York City.

Cabán defeated five other Democratic primary candidates and will face attorney Daniel Kogan (R) in the November 5 general election.

The primary attracted national attention and endorsements from two presidential candidates.

Local election watchers had identified Cabán, Queens Borough President Melinda Katz, and former Judge Gregory Lasak as frontrunners. 

Cabán was endorsed by Sens. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D), and The New York Times.

Katz was endorsed by Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D), four members of the U.S. House, the county Democratic Party, and City Councilor Rory Lancman (D), who dropped out of the race June 21. Former Rep. Joseph Crowley, whom Ocasio-Cortez unseated in 2018, fundraised on Katz’s behalf. 

Lasak was endorsed by the New York Daily News, the New York Post, and Rep. Kathleen Rice (D). 

Also running were attorney Betty Lugo, former New York City Civilian Complaint Review Board director Mina Malik, and prosecutor Jose Nieves.