Biden, Sanders, Buttigieg to debate; Warren on separate night

Former Vice President Joe Biden will face off against Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete Buttigieg on the second night of the initial Democratic presidential debates this month, with Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) appearing on the first night, NBC News announced Friday.

This arrangement would leave Warren as the only top-tier candidate on stage the first night of the debates on June 26, denying her a chance to go head to head with her chief rivals, Biden and Sanders, at a time when her campaign appears ascendant.

Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) will also be in the debate with Biden and Sanders on June 27, the second night of the debate.

{mosads}The lineup sets up what is almost certain to be a heated showdown on the second night of the debates, pitting four of the highest-profile Democratic presidential hopefuls against one another in a two-hour spectacle.

Aside from Biden, Sanders, Buttigieg and Harris, the second-night lineup includes Sens. Michael Bennet (D-Colo.) and Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), as well as Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-Calif.), former Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper, best-selling author Marianne Williamson and tech entrepreneur Andrew Yang.

There’s still a silver lining for Warren, the highest-profile candidate in the first night of the debates. Her spot means that she won’t have to compete for attention with other front-runners, potentially amplifying her voice on stage.

Also debating on the first night are former Rep. Beto O’Rourke (D-Texas), Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.), former Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julián Castro, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-Hawaii), Washington Gov. Jay Inslee, former Rep. John Delaney (D-Md.), Rep. Tim Ryan (D-Ohio) and Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.).

With the lineup made public, candidates can now begin tailoring their debate performances with specific opponents in mind.

To qualify for the first debate, presidential hopefuls had to either collect contributions from at least 65,000 unique donors, including 200 in 20 different states, or notch at least 1 percent support in three polls.

The Democratic National Committee announced on Thursday that 20 of the 24 Democrats running for president ultimately met at least one of those requirements, including 14 who met both.

The four candidates who failed to make the debate stage later this month were: Montana Gov. Steve Bullock, Rep. Seth Moulton (D-Mass.), former Sen. Mike Gravel (D-Alaska) and Miramar, Fla., Mayor Wayne Messam.

The order for the debates was decided on Friday with a random drawing at NBC headquarters in New York. The candidates with polling averages of at least 2 percent were split between the two nights along with candidates with lower polling averages.

Updated at 1:22 p.m.

Tags 2020 election Amy Klobuchar Andrew Yang Bernie Sanders Bill de Blasio Cory Booker Democratic debates DNC Elizabeth Warren Eric Swalwell Jay Inslee Joe Biden John Delaney John Hickenlooper Julian Castro Kirsten Gillibrand Marianne Williamson Michael Bennet Pete Buttigieg Seth Moulton Steve Bullock Tim Ryan Tulsi Gabbard Wayne Messam

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