Democrats have announced twelve planned presidential debates, as an unprecedented number of Democrats are seeking to challenge President Trump in the 2020 presidential election.
The plan, which includes twelve primary debates for the 2020 cycle, was released by party officials on Thursday. In an effort to include those who are not registering nationally in public opinion surveys, entry to the early debate stages will be determined by several factors, including a combination of polling and grassroots financial support.
In the event that there are too many candidates to host a single event, the party will hold two different events on consecutive nights at the same location. Doing that would increase the debates by more than a dozen.
“Drawing lots strikes me as the fairest way to make sure everyone gets a fair shake,” Democratic National Committee chairman Thomas Perez said Thursday. “We want our candidates to be able to articulate their vision of America. We don’t want debates to be discussions of what your hand size is. We want debates to be discussions of health care.”
The plan was crafted after several meetings with previous campaign members and media partners. Following protocol from the last presidential election, the Democrat Party will not tolerate candidates speaking in debates outside of the official schedule.
Democrats will host at least six debates in 2019, which will be in states that do not hold early primary or caucus contests. The other planned six will follow in 2020, with planned meetings in Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada, and South Carolina.
The first two debates are scheduled to be held in June and July next year. After August, the party will continue debates on a monthly schedule for the remainder of the year. The final debate for 2020, as of now, is scheduled for August.
Those eyeing a potential 2020 run include Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ), Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA), Rep. Beto O’Rourke (D-TX), former presidential nominee Hillary Clinton, Sen. Bernie Sanders (D-VT), and Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY).