WASHINGTON — The stages are set.
Twenty Democratic presidential candidates were divvied up between two planned nights of debates in a drawing by NBC News on Friday morning. The candidates will face off on June 26 and 27 at the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts in downtown Miami.
Here is a breakdown of the two groups of candidates and the dates on which they will debate
On June 26:
- Sen. Cory Booker of New Jersey
- Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts
- Former Rep. Beto O’Rourke of Texas
- Sen. Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota
- Former Rep. John Delaney of Maryland
- Rep. Tulsi Gabbard of Hawaii
- Former Housing Secretary Julián Castro
- Rep. Tim Ryan of Ohio
- New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio
- Gov. Jay Inslee of Washington
On June 27:
- Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont
- Sen. Kamala Harris of California
- Former Vice President Joe Biden
- South Bend, Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg
- Sen. Michael Bennet of Colorado
- Author Marianne Williamson
- Rep. Eric Swalwell of California
- Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand of New York
- Entrepreneur Andrew Yang
- Former Gov. John Hickenlooper of Colorado
The debates will air from 9 p.m. to 11 p.m. EST on NBC, MSNBC, and Telemundo. Moderators will be Lester Holt, Savannah Guthrie, Chuck Todd, Rachel Maddow, and José Díaz-Balart.
The format of the debates will be the same on each night. Holt will appear in both hours. Guthrie and Diaz-Balart will join Holt for the first half. In the second half, Todd and Maddow will join as moderators.
As voters begin to pay more attention to the race, candidates in recent weeks have begun sharpening their message and offering a preview of arguments they may try to present on the debate stage.
It seems likely that the frontrunner Biden will face the toughest engagement to date from fellow Democrats in his nearly two-month old campaign. Biden, now running in his third presidential campaign, has sparred with Trump, but has tried to stay above the intra-party fray.
Warren has criticized Biden for his ties to the credit card industry, including his vote in the Senate for the 2005 Bankruptcy Abuse Prevention and Consumer Protection Act, legislation that tightened rules on who could qualify for bankruptcy protection.
Sanders has gone after Biden, making the case that the “middle of the road” approach that Biden — a centrist who has billed himself as the antidote to Trump — will prove to be a loser.
Meanwhile, South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Peter Buttigieg, 37, has driven the message that the country needs a generational change in the White House. He has poked at Trump and Biden as backward-looking candidates not best suited to take on generational challenges, such as climate change, facing the nation.
Candidates such as former Rep. John Delaney and former Gov. John Hickenlooper could use their moment on stage to hammer their shared point that Democrats need to elect a tested, moderate Democrat and that going too far to the left would be calamitous for Democrats in the general election. They’ve offered their toughest criticism for Sanders, who this week made a major speech defending his democratic socialist philosophy.
Both in recent days have railed against the embrace by some candidates for Medicare-For-All, a policy that would upend the private insurance industry, and the Green New Deal, a costly proposal to curb climate change.
Booker, Buttigieg, Harris, Sanders and Warren have all expressed support for Medicare-For-All or establishing a single-payer health care system. At least 15 candidates—including the entire top tier in the polls—have endorsed the Green New Deal.