NBC, CNN to host first two Democratic presidential primary debates

CNN and a trio of NBC networks will host the first two Democratic presidential primary debates of the 2020 cycle, which will feature a maximum of 20 candidates, the Democratic National Committee (DNC) announced Thursday.

NBC, MSNBC and Telemundo will partner on the first debate in June. CNN will host the second debate, set to take place in July. The exact dates and locations were not yet announced.

Each debate could feature two separate events on back-to-back nights to accommodate a large field of candidates, though only a maximum of 20 candidates will be able to participate in total.

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To qualify for the debates, a candidate will need to either have at least 1 percent support in three qualifying polls, or have received at least $65,000 in individual donations from at least 200 donors in at least 20 states.

If more than 20 candidates meet those two standards, the field for the debates will be chosen using a separate method that takes into account those who meet both qualifications, followed by highest polling averages and number of unique donors.

The specific lineup of candidates for each debate will be chosen at random.

The DNC did not immediately respond to a request for comment from The Hill.

The DNC had previously announced that the first of 12 primary debates for the coming presidential election would take place in June and July.

The field of prospective candidates has steadily grown in recent weeks. Among those who have declared their candidacy or launched an exploratory committee are Sens. Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth Ann WarrenO'Rourke faces pressure from left on 'Medicare for all' O'Rourke says he won't use 'f-word' on campaign trail O'Rourke not planning, but not ruling out big fundraisers MORE (D-Mass.), Kamala HarrisKamala Devi HarrisO'Rourke faces pressure from left on 'Medicare for all' O'Rourke says he won't use 'f-word' on campaign trail O'Rourke not planning, but not ruling out big fundraisers MORE (D-Calif.), Kirsten GillibrandKirsten Elizabeth GillibrandNew York Rep. Maloney endorses Gillibrand for president Actress Connie Britton endorses former roommate Gillibrand for president Trump singles out local union boss over GM's decision to shutter Ohio plant MORE (D-N.Y.), Cory BookerCory Anthony BookerO'Rourke faces pressure from left on 'Medicare for all' O'Rourke says he won't use 'f-word' on campaign trail O'Rourke not planning, but not ruling out big fundraisers MORE (D-N.J.), Amy KlobucharAmy Jean KlobucharO'Rourke says he won't use 'f-word' on campaign trail Officials dismiss criticism that Trump rhetoric to blame for New Zealand attack Trump reignites criticism of McCain months after senator's death MORE (D-Minn.), Rep. Tulsi GabbardTulsi GabbardKlobuchar: Race, gender should not be litmus tests for 2020 Dem nominee O'Rourke: 'It would be very difficult not to select a woman' as running mate Schultz apologizes to Dem candidates for military comments MORE (D-Hawaii), former Rep. John DelaneyJohn Kevin DelaneyCNN to feature Hickenlooper in town hall next week Crenshaw tries out Trump impersonation at Washington Press Club Foundation dinner Hillicon Valley: Google takes heat at privacy hearing | 2020 Dems to debate 'monopoly power' | GOP rips net neutrality bill | Warren throws down gauntlet over big tech | New scrutiny for Trump over AT&T merger MORE (D-Md.) and former San Antonio Mayor Julian Castro (D).

A number of other candidates are likely to announce their 2020 decision in the coming weeks. Former Vice President Joe BidenJoseph (Joe) Robinette BidenBeto could give Biden and Bernie a run for their money Biden: 'I have the most progressive record of anybody running ... anybody who would run' H.R. 1 falls short of real reform MORE is expected to jump into the race, and Sen. Bernie SandersBernard (Bernie) SandersO'Rourke faces pressure from left on 'Medicare for all' O'Rourke says he won't use 'f-word' on campaign trail O'Rourke not planning, but not ruling out big fundraisers MORE (I-Vt.) and former Rep. Beto O'RourkeRobert (Beto) Francis O'RourkeO'Rourke faces pressure from left on 'Medicare for all' O'Rourke says voters aren't interested in 'personal attacks' like GOP tweet O'Rourke says he won't use 'f-word' on campaign trail MORE (D-Texas) are among other high-profile candidates that are weighing bids.