WASHINGTON – The names are in.
The 20 Democratic presidential candidates who met the criteria for the first Democratic primary debate of the election cycle have been announced. To qualify, the candidates had to poll at 1% or more in at least three qualified polls or receive donations from at least 65,000 individual donors, with a minimum of 200 individual donors per state in at least 20 states.
The first debate is being held in Miami on June 26 and 27, with 10 candidates on stage each day. NBC News, MSNBC and Telemundo will broadcast the two-night event. Which candidates appear on which nights will be announced Friday.
For some who make the debate stage, both in Miami and at next month’s debate in Detroit, it could mark a make-or-break moment to define their candidacy in one of the largest and most diverse presidential fields ever. For those who failed to make the cut, the missed opportunity could be a devastating blow, denying them a chance to define themselves and their candidacy before a national audience.
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While it’s still early in the campaign, only eight candidates – former Vice President Joe Biden, Sen. Bernie Sanders, Sen. Elizabeth Warren, South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg, Sen. Kamala Harris, former Rep. Beto O’Rourke, Sen. Cory Booker and Sen. Amy Klobuchar – are consistently breaking 1% in multiple national and early-state polls.
The stakes only continue to rise for the fall debates. Under new criteria set by the Democratic National Committee, many candidates polling in the lower tier could find themselves locked out of an opportunity for a spot on the national stage. Candidates will have to hit 2% in four qualifying polls and tally at least 130,000 individual donors to make it on stage for the debates in September and October, according to DNC guidance.
Only three major Democratic candidates didn’t qualify for the first debate later this month: Montana Gov. Steve Bullock; Massachusetts Rep. Seth Moulton; and Miramar, Florida, Mayor Wayne Messam.
Here are the candidates who will be in the first 2020 Democratic primary debate:
Sen. Michael Bennet, D-Colo.
Experience: Senator from Colorado, 2009-present
Fast facts: Bennet was born in New Delhi, India, where his father worked as an aide to the U.S. ambassador.
Former Vice President Joe Biden
Experience: Vice president, 2009-2017; senator from Delaware, 1973-2009
Fast facts: This is the third time Joe Biden has run for president. He also sought the Democratic nomination in 1988 and 2008
Sen. Cory Booker, D-N.J.
Experience: Senator from New Jersey, 2013-present; mayor of Newark, 2006-2013
Fast facts: New Jersey’s first African American senator, Booker has hinged his career on his efforts at overhauling the criminal justice system.
South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg
Experience: Mayor of South Bend, Indiana, 2012-present
Fast facts: Buttigieg would be the first openly gay nominee for a major political party if elected as the Democratic nominee.
Former HUD Secretary Julian Castro
Experience: Housing and Urban Development secretary, 2014-2017; mayor of San Antonio, 2009-2014
Fast facts: Castro is the grandson of a Mexican immigrant and son of a Latina activist. His twin brother, Joaquin Castro, is a Democratic congressman from Texas.
New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio
Experience: Mayor of New York City, 2014-present; New York City public advocate, 2010-2013; New York City Council, 2002-2009
Fast facts: The mayor, along with Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, called for the dismantling of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement in response to President Donald Trump’s “zero tolerance” immigration policy.
Former Rep. John Delaney, D-Md.
Experience: Representative from Maryland, 2013-2019; entrepreneur
Fast facts: Delaney was one of the first Democrats to announce his bid and has been a 2020 presidential candidate since July 2017.
Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, D-Hawaii
Experience: Representative from Hawaii, 2013-present; Honolulu City Council, 2010-2012; State representative, 2002-2004.
Fast facts: Born in Leloaloa, American Samoa, Gabbard is the first Hindu member of Congress. She served in the Hawaii National Guard and was deployed to Iraq in 2004.
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Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y.
Experience: Senator from New York, 2009-present; representative from New York, 2007-2009
Fast facts: Gillibrand is the mother of two boys and was the sixth woman ever to give birth while serving in Congress.
Sen. Kamala Harris, D-Calif.
Experience: Senator from California, 2017-present; California attorney general, 2011-2016; San Francisco district attorney 2004-2011
Fast facts: Harris – whose mother emigrated to the U.S. from India – is the first South Asian American and the second African American female senator in U.S. history.
Former Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper
Experience: Governor of Colorado, 2011-2019; Denver mayor 2003-2011; restaurateur
Fast facts: Hickenlooper suffers from prosopagnosia, or face blindness, which makes it difficult for him to recognize people.
Washington Gov. Jay Inslee
Experience: Governor of Washington, 2013-present; representative, 1993-1995, 1999-2012; state representative, 1988-1992.
Fast facts: Inslee is an avid cyclist and hiker and has made climate change a central part of his campaign.
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Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn.
Experience: Senator from Minnesota, 2007-present; Hennepin County prosecutor, 1999-2006
Fast facts: Klobuchar is positioning herself as a Midwest moderate who can work with Republicans. According to GovTrack, she introduced the most pieces of legislation in the 115th Congress of any Democratic senator and her bills had the most non-Democratic co-sponsors.
Former Rep. Beto O’Rourke, D-Texas
Experience: Representative from Texas, 2013-2019; El Paso City Council, 2005-2011
Fast facts: O’Rourke is a lover of punk rock, and co-founded the band Foss during his college years. The band toured during his summer break and put out a single in 1993 titled, “The El Paso Pussycats.”
Rep. Tim Ryan, D-Ohio
Experience: Representative from Ohio, 2003-present; state senator, 2000-2002
Fast facts: Ryan, a moderate Democrat, launched an unsuccessful bid in 2016 to unseat Rep. Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., as his party’s leader in the House.
Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt.
Experience: Senator from Vermont, 2007-present; representative from Vermont, 1991-2000
Fast facts: Sanders previously sought the Democratic nomination in 2016, but he has run as an independent for other offices he has sought.
Rep. Eric Swalwell, D-Calif.
Experience: Representative from California, 2013-present
Fast facts: Swalwell, a member of the House Intelligence Committee, has said he believes there is evidence that the Trump campaign colluded with Russians trying to interfere in the 2016 election.
Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass.
Experience: Senator from Massachusetts, 2013-present; Congressional Oversight Panel Chair for the Troubled Asset Relief Program, 2008-2010; former Harvard Law School professor
Fast facts: Warren came into the national spotlight for criticizing Wall Street, banks and large corporations after the 2008 financial crisis.
Activist Marianne Williamson
Experience: Motivational speaker, New Age spiritual guru and self-help author
Fast facts: Williamson spent the past 35 years as a spiritual guide and author with connections throughout the celebrity world, including Oprah Winfrey.
Entrepreneur Andrew Yang
Experience: Entrepreneur; founder of nonprofit fellowship program Venture for America
Fast facts: Yang’s platform includes providing every American 18 and older with a basic income of $1,000 a month.
Contributing: William Cummings, Sean Rossman and James Sergent
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President Donald Trump slammed reports Wednesday that his internal reelection campaign polls show him trailing Democratic front-runner Joe Biden as well as other candidates in the 2020 presidential race. (June 12)
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