First Two Democratic Primary Debates

2019.03.29 – More on the First Debate

  • The first presidential primary debate will be held in Miami, Florida on back-to-back nights on June 26 and 27.

  • Miami is an extraordinary and vibrant city that reflects the diversity of the Democratic Party. It’s only fitting that the DNC hold its first presidential primary debate there.

    • We’re looking forward to working with our soon-to-be hosts in Miami, and we’re even more excited to reaffirm our commitment to rebuilding the Democratic Party in every ZIP code in Florida.

  • NBC, MSNBC, and Telemundo will host a live broadcast of the first debate in prime time across all three networks with real-time Spanish translations on Telemundo.

    • Our broadcast partners are fully committed to providing accessible communications for deaf and disabled viewers as well.

    • The debate will be streamed for free on NBC News’ digital properties, including,, NBC News Mobile App, and OTT apps in addition to Telemundo’s digital platforms.

  • The debate lineups for each night will be determined at random to provide each candidate with a fair opportunity to make his or her case to a large, national audience.

  • Additional details on the venue, moderators, communication accessibility, and timing will also be announced at a later date.

    • Last month, we also announced that CNN will host the second debate in July. Expect to hear from us in the near future on developments there.

Future Debates and More Detail

  • Here’s a few key things about our upcoming debates:

    • Because of the historic size of the field, both the first and second debates will have the option of being held over two consecutive nights. This is unprecedented and the result of a strong negotiation by the DNC.

    • The candidates will be assigned a night by random selection, so there is no “kids table” debate. There are a lot of candidates and the DNC wants to make sure that the candidates and voters have the opportunity to get to know each other.

    • The DNC has committed to doing the first two debates in primetime on weekday nights – these are not weekend debates.

    • The first debate will be on NBC, so it will be broadcast and available on antenna TV, as well as through cable on MSNBC. The first two debates will also be streamed online for free, so folks without cable will have a lot of options.

  • The DNC also announced the threshold for candidates’ participation in the first two debates.

    • In the past, primary candidates have qualified for the debate stage by meeting a polling requirement.

    • For the first two debates, we’re introducing a new metric – grassroots fundraising – to accompany a traditional polling requirement.

    • To meet our polling threshold, a candidate must reach at least 1% support in at least three reputable polls.

      • The polling requirement is very similar to what DNC has used to qualify candidates for presidential primary debates in the past.

      • The DNC has provided a list of a wide array of reputable and established polls that it will use to qualify candidates, and that list includes both national and early state surveys.

    • The second way to qualify is by meeting the grassroots fundraising threshold. For the first debate, a candidate must receive donations from 65,000 people, with at least 200 unique donors per state in a minimum of 20 states.

      • The DNC reached this criteria after consultation with the digital community, including ActBlue, on historical trends in small-donor fundraising and expectations for this cycle.

      • This grassroots fundraising requirement measures a candidate’s strength with small-dollar donors. It reflects a candidate’s grassroots support.

      • Setting this benchmark for campaigns encourages and rewards them for engaging in work that the DNC believes they absolutely must do in order to beat Donald Trump.

Lucas Acosta
Director of Broadcast Media
Democratic National Committee
(c) 202-664-7609

Democratic National Committee, 430 S Capitol St SE, Washington, DC 20003