The first Democratic presidential primary debate of the 2020 cycle will be held in Miami, Florida, the Democratic National Committee (DNC) announced Thursday. The debate will take place on back-to-back nights on June 26 and 27 and broadcast live on NBC, MSNBC and Telemundo, which will have real-time Spanish translations.
"Miami is a vibrant and dynamic city that reflects the values and diversity of the Democratic Party. I couldn't imagine a better setting for our first debate," DNC Chair Tom Perez said in a statement. "Throughout every step of this process, we've focused on empowering the grassroots and ensuring that we hold the most transparent, inclusive, and fair primary in our party's history."
Florida is a key swing state and helped hand President Trump his victory in 2016. Miami has a large Hispanic population, a diverse demographic which often leans left but can swing toward Republicans in Florida. Republican Rick Scott clinched his victory in the 2018 Senate race by winning 48 percent of the state's Hispanic vote.
There will be 12 primary debates in total, with CNN hosting the second at an unspecified date and location in July. The DNC made waves earlier in March for announcing itfor a debate.
In February, the DNC detailed theto be included in the first two debates. Each candidate must have at least 1 percent support in three separate polls from a list of reputable state and national polling outfits determined by the committee. Candidates must also meet two fundraising thresholds: donations from at least 65,000 individuals, and 200 unique donors from at least 20 states.
Candidates who meet both criteria will be included in the debate. If more than 20 candidates meet the threshold, the DNC said it will use "a methodology that gives primacy to candidates meeting both thresholds, followed by the highest polling average, followed by the most unique donors" to determine participants.
The format is meant to give "all types of candidates the opportunity to reach the debate stage and [give] small-dollar donors a bigger voice in the primary than ever before," Perez said at the time.
The DNC came under fire during the 2016 primaries for initially limiting the number of debates, which many supporters of Sen. Bernie Sanders saw as an effort to shield Hillary Clinton and hamper her competition.