Twenty Democrats qualify for first round of primary debates; Bullock misses mark

Gov. Steve Bullock

(CN) – Setting a crowded stage, 20 candidates have qualified for the first round of Democratic presidential primary debates over two nights in Miami later this month.

The Democratic National Committee announced Thursday who will take the debate stage June 26 and June 27.

Fourteen of the candidates met both polling and donor requirements set by the DNC by receiving at least 1 percent in three polls released this year, and by receiving donations from 65,000 supporters with at least 200 donors each in 20 states.

That includes: Joe Biden, Cory Booker, Pete Buttigieg, Julian Castro, Tulsi Gabbard, Kirsten Gillibrand, Kamala Harris, Jay Inslee, Amy Klobuchar, Beto O’Rourke, Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren, Marianne Williamson and Andrew Yang.

Six other candidates met the polling standard: Michael Bennet, Bill de Blasio, John Delaney, John Hickenlooper, Tim Ryan and Eric Swalwell.

Steve Bullock, Mike Gravel, Wayne Messam, and Seth Moulton did not meet either requirement and will not make the stage this month. Bullock, the governor of Montana, was just one poll shy of qualifying for the debates.

The 20 candidates who qualified will be assigned a debate time Friday morning during a lottery at NBC’s 30 Rockefeller Plaza.

Candidates will be placed into two groups: one for those who averaged at least 2 percent in three of their strongest polls, and another with the remaining participants. They will be drawn evenly at random to fill up the spots for each night.

This method is intended to prevent all the front-runners like Biden, Sanders and Warren from appearing only on one night.

Nearly half of the candidates fit into the first group, with Buttigieg, Harris, O’Rourke, Booker, Klobuchar, and Castro all polling at least 2 percent.

The DNC will use the same method to pick candidates to appear in the debates next month in Detroit.

A higher threshold will be used to determine who qualifies for the September debates, though. Candidates will be required to receive at least 2 percent of support on four polls and donations from 130,000 donors, with 400 donors each in 20 states.