Democrats announce packed debate schedule in early voting states
The Democratic National Committee announced on Thursday that it plans to sponsor four more presidential nomination debates in January and February in the first four states to vote in the primary and caucus calendar.
The first of the early voting state debates will take place on Jan. 14 at Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa. CNN and the Des Moines Register will serve as media partners. Iowa’s Feb. 3 caucuses kick off the nominating calendar.
The next debate will be held Feb. 7 at Saint Anselm College in Manchester, N.H., with ABC News, local TV station WMUR, and Apple News as media partners. New Hampshire’s first-in-the-nation presidential primary will be held on Feb. 11.
Twelve days later, the DNC will hold a debate in Las Vegas, Nevada, in partnership with NBC News, MSNBC, and the Nevada Independent. The Feb. 19 debate will be held three days before the state’s presidential caucuses.
The final early voting state debate will be held on Feb. 25, in Charleston, S.C., four days before the state’s primary. CBS News and the Congressional Black Caucus Institute are partnering with the DNC for the debate.
The DNC acknowledged that the timing of the Iowa debate could be in flux.
With a likely Senate trial in the impeachment of President Trump to be held in January – with the chamber possibly in session six days a week during the duration of the trial — the five Democratic senators running for the White House could be sidelined.
DNC spokesperson Xochitl Hinojosa tweeted that “if a conflict with an impeachment trial is unavoidable, the DNC will evaluate its options and work with all the candidates to accommodate them.”
In its announcement, the DNC did not spell out how candidates could qualify for the upcoming debates. Candidates needed to hit 4 percent in at least four polls recognized by the DNC, or 6 percent in at least two polls conducted in early voting states, and receive contributions from at least 200,000 individual donors to make the stage at next week’s sixth round debate, which is being held in Los Angeles.
Only seven candidates in the field of roughly 15 remaining Democratic presidential candidates qualified for next week’s showdown.
They are former Vice President Joe Biden, Sens. Bernie Sanders of Vermont, Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, and Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota, South Bend, Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg, billionaire environmental and progressive advocate and organizer Tom Steyer, and tech entrepreneur Andrew Yang. Sen. Kamala Harris of California had qualified for the debate, but she dropped out of the presidential race last week.