May 13, 2019
NBC News, MSNBC, and Telemundo—all three, divisions of NBCUniversal—are hosting the first official debate of the primary season, which will air live across all three networks from 9p.m. to 11 p.m. (ET) each night. The debate will be broadcast simultaneously on all three networks, with real-time Spanish translations on Telemundo.
A maximum of 20 candidates will have the opportunity participate—ten on each night. To qualify, candidates must meet one of two thresholds: Either confirm at least 1% support in at least three major polls; or collect at least 65,000 online donations.
So far, at least 18 candidates have qualified, according to an unofficial analysis by NBC News.
If more than 20 qualify, which looks increasingly likely as the Democratic 2020 field keeps growing, then candidates who meet both qualifications will be given a preference, followed by those who have the highest polling average, then those with the most online donations.
According to NBC News, “The debate is expected to be a defining moment in Democrats’ nomination battle to take on President Donald Trump, and the crowded field of candidates view making the stage as crucial to their overall campaigns.”
Democratic National Committee Chair Tom Perez said, “ I am committed to running an open and transparent primary process. To that end, we’ve spent months working with media partners to provide this unprecedented opportunity for candidates and voters to get to know each other. Because campaigns are won on the strength of their grassroots, we also updated the threshold, giving all types of candidates the opportunity to reach the debate stage and giving small-dollar donors a bigger voice in the primary than ever before.”
A July debate will be broadcast on CNN, CNN International, and CNN en Español in prime time on back-to-back weeknights if more than one night is needed. An unauthenticated live stream of the debate also will be available for all users on CNN’s website, mobile apps and connected TVs via CNNgo.
Research contact: @NBCNews