The Democratic National Committee will sponsor four presidential debates in January and February, giving candidates a final chance to introduce themselves to voters before the first ballots are cast in the primary season, ABC News reported.
The DNC laid out a packed schedule of debates, caucuses and primaries for early 2020 — announcing debates in the early voting states of Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada and South Carolina. There will be seven days with debates or contests in February alone.
The Democratic Party is also facing a potential scheduling conflict it hasn’t dealt with before. If President Donald Trump is impeached, a Senate trial could require several of the candidates to remain in Washington.
Five Democratic senators are currently running for president and have indicated they will return to Washington for an impeachment trial in the Senate should one take place.
“If a conflict with an impeachment trial is unavoidable, the D.N.C. will evaluate its options and work with all the candidates to accommodate them,” the committee said in a statement.
The DNC did not lay out how candidates would qualify for the upcoming debates. It has slowly increased the standards in fundraising and polling for each of the six debates this year, beginning with a low threshold that resulted in 20 candidates qualifying for the first debate.
For next week’s debate in Los Angeles, candidates needed to hit the 4 percent mark in at least four polls recognized by the DNC or 6 percent in at least two polls conducted in early voting states. They also needed to receive donations from at least 200,000 unique donors, according to ABC News.
Only seven Democratic candidates meet those criteria: former vice president Joe Biden, South Bend, Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg, Senators Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota, Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts and Bernie Sanders of Vermont, businessman Andrew Yang and retired hedge fund manager Tom Steyer.
The 2020 schedule announcement includes Apple and Twitter as partners for some debates, which could create an uncomfortable dynamic for candidates who have campaigned on stricter regulation of Silicon Valley. Warren and Yang have both called for breaking up big tech companies like Google and Apple, as The Inquisitr has previously reported.
CNN and The Des Moines Register will host a debate on January 14 at Drake University ahead of Iowa’s caucuses. ABC News, in partnership with ABC’s New Hampshire affiliate WMUR-TV and Apple News, will hold a debate at St. Anselm College in Manchester after voting begins on Friday, February 7. NBC News and MSNBC, in partnership with The Nevada Independent, will host a February 19 debate in Las Vegas prior to Nevada’s caucuses. CBS News and the Congressional Black Caucus Institute will co-host the debate before South Carolina’s primary on February 25 at The Gaillard Center in Charleston, South Carolina. Twitter will be a debate partner.