Democratic Presidential Candidates React To Primary Debate Placement

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On Friday, NBC News announced the lineups of each of the two nights for the first Democratic primary debate. Candidates’ names were drawn manually at NBC News‘ headquarters in New York. DNC officials and a representative from each of the qualifying debates were invited to attend the draw.

Twenty candidates have qualified for the first debate. Cory Booker, Beto O’Rourke, Elizabeth Warren, Amy Klobuchar, Tulsi Gabbard, Julian Castro, John Delaney, Bill de Blasio, Tim Ryan, and Jay Inslee will be appearing on Wednesday, June 26.

Appearing a day later is the second group of 10, consisting of Kamala Harris, Joe Biden, Bernie Sanders, Marianne Williamson, Pete Buttigieg, Michael Bennet, Kirsten Gillibrand, Eric Swalwell, Andrew Yang, and John Hickenlooper.

Following the announcement, the candidates took to social media and issued official statements, reacting to their placement, The Hill reports.

“This is a terrific lineup because there will be a real debate over the key set of choices in this Democratic primary,” Bernie Sanders’ campaign manager Faiz Shakir said in a statement, adding that the Vermont senator now has a chance to distinguish himself from other candidates by discussing his opposition to “horrific” trade agreements, the Iraq war, and corporatism.

Beto O’Rourke shared his excitement on social media, vowing to present a “big, bold, ambitious, forward-looking vision.”

Former Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper said that he looks forward to the debate, using the opportunity to take a dig at self-described democratic socialist Bernie Sanders, stating that “socialism is not how we will achieve a progressive future.”

John Delaney, who has polled at the bottom of the field, compared himself to Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren, “who, like me, is talking about new ideas,” adding that he looks “forward to a debate on issues and solutions, not personality and politics.”

New Jersey Democrat Cory Booker responded with a fundraising call, and New Yorker Kirsten Gillibrand tweeted a link calling her supporters to sign up to a “watch party.”

In a fundraising email to supporters, California Senator Kamala Harris mentioned debate partners Pete Buttigieg, Joe Biden, and Bernie Sanders by name, asking her following to “demonstrate to our opponents and to the American people that our grassroots movement is in a strong position to win.”

Elizabeth Warren, who has surged in the polls but won’t have a chance to share the stage with front-runners Joe Biden and Bernie Sanders, said that she views the debate as an “opportunity to discuss my plans for big, structural change in this country.”

The rest of the contenders reacted positively to their placements as well, expressing eagerness to participate in the first event.