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.


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 WarrenCentrists gain foothold in infrastructure talks; cyber attacks at center of Biden-Putin meeting Democrats have turned solidly against gas tax Overnight Health Care: Takeaways on the Supreme Court's Obamacare decision | COVID-19 cost 5.5 million years of American life | Biden administration investing billions in antiviral pills for COVID-19 MORE (D-Mass.), Kamala HarrisKamala HarrisThe U.S. and Mexico must revamp institutions supporting their joint efforts Harris signals a potential breakthrough in US-Mexico cooperation Watch live: Harris delivers remarks on vaccination efforts MORE (D-Calif.), Kirsten GillibrandKirsten GillibrandGillibrand: Military must make changes beyond sexual assault cases COVID-19 long-haulers press Congress for paid family leave Ocasio-Cortez, Gillibrand and Moulton call for more high-speed rail funding in infrastructure package MORE (D-N.Y.), Cory BookerCory BookerDemocrats introduce resolution apologizing to LGBT community for government discrimination Zombie Tax punishes farmers to fill DC coffers Rand Paul does not support a national minimum wage increase — and it's important to understand why MORE (D-N.J.), Amy KlobucharAmy KlobucharDemocrats scramble to unify before election bill brawl Hillicon Valley: Big Tech critic Lina Khan named chair of the FTC | Lawmakers urge Biden to be tough on cyber during summit with Putin | TSA working on additional security regulations following Colonial Pipeline hack Big Tech critic Lina Khan named chair of the FTC MORE (D-Minn.), Rep. Tulsi GabbardTulsi GabbardTulsi Gabbard on Chicago mayor's decision to limit media interviews to people of color: 'Anti-white racism' Fox News says network and anchor Leland Vittert have 'parted ways' New co-chairs named for congressional caucus for millennials MORE (D-Hawaii), former Rep. John DelaneyJohn DelaneyLobbying world Coronavirus Report: The Hill's Steve Clemons interviews Rep. Rodney Davis Eurasia Group founder Ian Bremmer says Trump right on China but wrong on WHO; CDC issues new guidance for large gatherings 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 BidenJoe Biden 64 percent of Iowans say 'time for someone else' to hold Grassley's Senate seat: poll Philadelphia shooting leaves 2 dead, injures toddler Ron Johnson booed at Juneteenth celebration in Wisconsin MORE is expected to jump into the race, and Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersCentrists gain foothold in infrastructure talks; cyber attacks at center of Biden-Putin meeting Democrats facing tough reelections back bipartisan infrastructure deal The Hill's Morning Report - ObamaCare here to stay MORE (I-Vt.) and former Rep. Beto O'RourkeBeto O'RourkeO'Rourke considering Texas governor bid: report O'Rourke clarifies remarks, leaves door open to gubernatorial bid O'Rourke says he's not planning on run for Texas governor MORE (D-Texas) are among other high-profile candidates that are weighing bids.