WASHINGTON — The first Democratic presidential debate will be held in Miami on June 26 and June 27, in what may be a huge ratings draw for the networks that will telecast the event — NBC News, MSNBC, and Telemundo.
The Democratic National Committee already announced a plan to split the debate into two nights because of the size of the field. Under the plan, participants will be selected at random to determine the lineup for each night. A limit of 20 candidates was placed on the debates over both nights.
The DNC is planning 12 primary debates. CNN will telecast the second debate in July, and there will be roughly one per month after an August break.
The choice of Miami is notable as the city had been in contention to host the 2020 Democratic National Convention. But the DNC picked Milwaukee instead.
The venue for the debate has yet to be announced, along with the moderators and other details.
The criteria for the first debates will be for a candidate to register 1% or more support in three polls publicly released between January 1, 2019, and 14 days prior to the date of the event. The DNC also said that the polls could be national, or a combination of one or more polls from Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina or Nevada.
Candidates also may qualify by showing that the campaign has drawn donations from at least 65,000 unique donors, and a minimum of 200 unique donors per state in at least 20 states.
Fox News aired the first Republican debate of the last election cycle in August, 2015, drawing 24 million viewers, a ratings record. CNN aired the first Democratic debate in October of that year, with a hefty 15.3 million viewers.
Cesar Conde, chairman of NBCUniversal Telemundo Enterprises, noted that the event will be taking place in the same city where it is based. “We are living at a critical time that could redefine the role of the Hispanic community in our country,” he said in a statement.