Here’s Which Candidates Have Already Qualified for the Democratic Presidential Debate

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At least 14 Democratic presidential candidates — from former Vice President Joe Biden to self-help author Marianne Williamson — have already clinched spots on the first primary debate stage.
Hosted by NBC News, MSNBC and Telemundo, the debates will be broadcast from Miami on June 26 and 27. The networks announced on Tuesday morning that the moderators will be Lester Holt, Savannah Guthrie, Chuck Todd, Rachel Maddow and José Díaz-Balart.
Candidates may qualify for the debate through meeting polling thresholds or by getting 65,000 individual donations.

Fourteen have met both criteria, securing a spot on the stage, but it remains to be seen who else in the historically crowded field will qualify. The Democratic National Committee will use polling data to break ties between candidates who have met only one of the cutoffs and is expected to announce the lineup soon. The deadline is Wednesday.

Qualifying for the debates will give candidates primetime television exposure, but it could be difficult to stand out on the crowded stage. Ten candidates will appear on each night.
Candidates who are unlikely to qualify include Rep. Seth Moulton, former Sen. Mike Gravel and Mayor Wayne Messam.
Here are the candidates who have qualified for the first 2020 Democratic presidential primary debate.
Former Vice President Joe Biden

Former U.S. Vice President and Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden received a nearly failing grade from Greenpeace for his climate change statements.
Drew Angerer—Getty Images Former U.S. Vice President and Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden received a nearly failing grade from Greenpeace for his climate change statements.

After jumping into the race in late April, Biden has been the consistent frontrunner. His campaign’s strategy has been to rise above the primary and focus his attention on President Donald Trump, and he missed a cattle-call event in Iowa with 19 of the candidates to attend his granddaughter’s graduation. Although the primary has been friendly so far, some of the other candidates have begun to take veiled shots at Biden’s record, including his past support for restrictions on government spending on abortion, which he has since reversed, and his support for a 1994 crime bill, which he still defends.

Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders

Democratic presidential candidate Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT) speaks at the Iowa Democratic Party’s Hall of Fame Dinner in Cedar Rapids, Iowa on June 9, 2019.
Scott Olson—Getty Images Democratic presidential candidate Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT) speaks at the Iowa Democratic Party’s Hall of Fame Dinner in Cedar Rapids, Iowa on June 9, 2019.

After an unsuccessful bid for the Democratic nomination in 2016, Sanders is running again. He continues to advocate for tuition-free college, and has recently gotten four other 2020 candidates to co-sponsor his latest version of the Medicare for All Act. During the 2016 primary debates, he was criticized for a tendency to interrupt Hillary Clinton on stage.

Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren

Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) speaks during the North American Building Trades Unions Conference at the Washington Hilton April 10, 2019 in Washington, DC. (Zach Gibson—Getty Images)
Zach Gibson—Getty Images Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) speaks during the North American Building Trades Unions Conference at the Washington Hilton April 10, 2019 in Washington, DC. (Zach Gibson—Getty Images)

After an initial misstep with a controversial DNA test, Warren has focused her campaign on dramatic policy proposals, including a wealth tax, student debt relief, making public colleges free, universal child care and addressing the opioid epidemic. Her catchphrase — “I have a plan for that” — has become an informal campaign slogan, and she has eschewed major donors in favor of a grassroots strategy that includes taking a lot of selfies on the campaign trail.

California Sen. Kamala Harris

Senator Kamala Harris (D-CA) speaks to her supporters during her presidential campaign launch rally in Frank H. Ogawa Plaza on January 27, 2019, in Oakland, California.
Mason Trinca—Getty Images Senator Kamala Harris (D-CA) speaks to her supporters during her presidential campaign launch rally in Frank H. Ogawa Plaza on January 27, 2019, in Oakland, California.

The former district attorney in San Francisco and attorney general in California, Harris was elected to the Senate in 2016. She has proposed giving the average teacher a $13,500 raise and expanding the Earned Income Tax Credit, supports Sanders’ Medicare for All bill and the Green New Deal to fight climate change. She has recently emphasized her career as a prosecutor as a way to take on Trump, but she has softened her positions on some criminal justice issues, calling for a national moratorium on the death penalty and supporting marijuana legalization.

South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete Buttigieg

Democratic presidential candidate Mayor Pete Buttigieg delivers remarks on foreign policy and national security during a speech at the Indiana University Auditorium in Bloomington, Ind., June 11, 2019.
Michael Conroy—AP Democratic presidential candidate Mayor Pete Buttigieg delivers remarks on foreign policy and national security during a speech at the Indiana University Auditorium in Bloomington, Ind., June 11, 2019.

The mayor of South Bend, Indiana emerged as a surprising breakout candidate for the nomination after a standout CNN town hall in March. The 37-year-old mayor, who has embraced media appearances, has garnered attention for his military service, religion, and liberal reframing of freedom, security, and democracy. But he has also faced criticism for not talking enough about specific policies.

Former Texas Rep. Beto O’Rourke

Beto O’Rourke speaks onstage at Oprah’s SuperSoul Conversations at PlayStation Theater on Feb. 5, 2019 in New York City.
Jamie McCarthy—Getty Images Beto O’Rourke speaks onstage at Oprah’s SuperSoul Conversations at PlayStation Theater on Feb. 5, 2019 in New York City.

The former representative from Texas rose to prominence when he unsuccessfully challenged Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, but his presidential campaign has struggled, although he still does better in the polls than some of the sitting members of Congress. He has proposed a dramatic plan to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker

Ethan Miller—Getty Images

After three terms as mayor of Newark, Booker was elected to the Senate in 2012. He has proposed requiring gun owners obtain a license “similar to applying for or renewing a passport” and giving all newborns “baby bonds” — savings accounts seeded with $1,000. (Children in low-income households would receive up to $2,000 more each year.)

Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar

Senator and presidential candidate Amy Klobuchar speaks during a town hall event in Rye, NH on March 23, 2019.
Boston Globe—Boston Globe via Getty Images Senator and presidential candidate Amy Klobuchar speaks during a town hall event in Rye, NH on March 23, 2019.

Like Harris, Klobuchar is a former local prosecutor. She was elected to the Senate in 2012. She is campaigning on pragmatism and finding middle-of-the-road policy solutions, proposing a $650 billion plan to improve the nation’s infrastructure.

Former HUD Secretary Julían Castro

Democratic presidential candidate Julian Castro speaks at a campaign appearance at Bell Gardens High School, in Los Angeles county, on March 4, 2019 in Bell Gardens, California.
Mario Tama—Getty Images Democratic presidential candidate Julian Castro speaks at a campaign appearance at Bell Gardens High School, in Los Angeles county, on March 4, 2019 in Bell Gardens, California.

The former mayor of San Antonio, Texas, and secretary of Housing and Urban Development under President Obama, Castro has proposed a universal pre-kindergarten plan. Recently, he visited Flint and was the first of the 2020 candidates to unveil a plan to eliminate lead poisoning in America.

Washington Gov. Jay Inslee

Washington Governor Jay Inslee wrote President Barack Obama on Tuesday to ask for more federal assistance for his disaster struck state.
Reuters Washington Governor Jay Inslee wrote President Barack Obama on Tuesday to ask for more federal assistance for his disaster struck state.

A former member of the House, Inslee has served since 2013 as governor of Washington state, where he has pushed to reorient state policy to fight climate change. After an unsuccessful attempt to pass a carbon tax to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, he recently signed a package of dramatic bills designed to get rid of fossil-fuel-generate power by 2045. His campaign is focused almost entirely on climate change and he has called for a debate dedicated to the issue.

New York Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand

Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand speaks during a rally in front of Trump International Hotel in New York, United States on March 22, 2019.
Anadolu Agency—Getty Images Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand speaks during a rally in front of Trump International Hotel in New York, United States on March 22, 2019.

A former member of the House from upstate New York, Gillibrand was elected senator in 2009. She has proposed a plan to provide paid family leave. She locked in her spot on the debate stage on Monday after struggling to meet the donor threshold, which she called “an odd measurable.”

Entrepreneur Andrew Yang

Entrepreneur and 2020 presidential candidate Andrew Yang speaks during a campaign stop at the train depot on February 1, 2019 in Jefferson, Iowa.
JOSHUA LOTT—AFP/Getty Images Entrepreneur and 2020 presidential candidate Andrew Yang speaks during a campaign stop at the train depot on February 1, 2019 in Jefferson, Iowa.

A Silicon Valley entrepreneur and philanthropist with no prior political experience, Yang advocates for a universal basic income to respond to automation. The “Yang Gang” has gained traction on the internet, including Chinese social media platforms.

Self-help author Marianne Williamson

Marianne Williamson attends the Project Angel Food’s Angel Awards 2015, Honoring Marianne Williamson & Founding Team as well as Entertainment Industry Foundation at Taglyan Cultural Complex on August 22, 2015 in Hollywood, California.
Araya Diaz—2015 Getty Images Marianne Williamson attends the Project Angel Food’s Angel Awards 2015, Honoring Marianne Williamson & Founding Team as well as Entertainment Industry Foundation at Taglyan Cultural Complex on August 22, 2015 in Hollywood, California.

A self-described “spiritual and inspirational author” who is Oprah Winfrey’s spiritual advisor, Williamson has called “a moral and spiritual awakening” through her campaign. Along with universal health care, free college and the Green New Deal, she supports a plan to provide $100 billion in reparations for slavery.

Hawaii Rep. Tulsi Gabbard

Tulsi Gabbard attends the 33rd Annual Women’s Campaign Fund Parties of Your Choice Gala at Christie’s Auction House in New York City on April 22, 2013.
Thos Robinson—2013 Getty Images Tulsi Gabbard attends the 33rd Annual Women’s Campaign Fund Parties of Your Choice Gala at Christie’s Auction House in New York City on April 22, 2013.

A former member of the Hawaii Army National Guard who served in Iraq, Gabbard served in the state legislature and was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 2012. After facing criticism for meeting with Syrian president Bashar al-Assad (and not regretting it), the Hawaii congresswoman stirred up even more controversy when she declined to say whether Assad is a war criminal.

Rep. Eric Swalwell: Met the polling threshold only

Congressman Eric Swalwell (D-CA) speaks to guests during an event at the Iowa City Public Library on February 18, 2019 in Iowa City, Iowa.
Scott Olson—Getty Images Congressman Eric Swalwell (D-CA) speaks to guests during an event at the Iowa City Public Library on February 18, 2019 in Iowa City, Iowa.

The California congressman has made gun control the central issue of his campaign. “I’m running to stop the shootings,” he said in a CNN town hall appearance. He has called for an assault weapons ban and background checks on all gun purchases.

Sen. Michael Bennet: Met the polling threshold only

U.S. Senator Michael Bennet greets voters during a rally with young voters on the campus of the University of Colorado in Boulder, Colo. on Oct. 24, 2018.
David Zalubowski—AP U.S. Senator Michael Bennet greets voters during a rally with young voters on the campus of the University of Colorado in Boulder, Colo. on Oct. 24, 2018.

The Colorado senator was one of four names that former President Barack Obama had floated as potential 2020 challengers before leaving office. Bennet’s campaign launch was delayed by a prostate cancer diagnosis, but he entered the race in May after being given a clean bill of health.

Former Rep. John Delaney: Met the polling threshold only

Presidential candidate John Delaney attends a taping of “WSJ At Large with Gerry Baker” (which will air Friday, March 29th) at Fox Business Network Studios on March 27, 2019 in New York City.
Theo Wargo—Getty Images Presidential candidate John Delaney attends a taping of “WSJ At Large with Gerry Baker” (which will air Friday, March 29th) at Fox Business Network Studios on March 27, 2019 in New York City.

The former congressman was the first Democrat to enter the 2020 race, announcing his candidacy in July 2017. He has pitched himself as “the most moderate” 2020 Democrat. At the California Democratic Convention, Delaney drew boos from the crowd when he said, “Medicare for All may sound good, but it’s actually not good policy, nor is it good politics.”

Former Gov. John Hickenlooper: Met the polling threshold only

Governor John Hickenlooper talks about the new 1MW solar array Thursday, May 14, 2015 at the Intel Corporation in Fort Collins, Colorado.
Brent Lewis—Denver Post/Getty Images Governor John Hickenlooper talks about the new 1MW solar array Thursday, May 14, 2015 at the Intel Corporation in Fort Collins, Colorado.

Former Colorado governor John Hickenlooper has pitched himself as a moderate willing to work across party lines. Hickenlooper is known for pro-business policies and he has publicly criticized the Green New Deal. At one point, he contemplated running on a bipartisan presidential ticket with former Ohio governor John Kasich, a Republican.

Rep. Tim Ryan: Met the polling threshold only

Rep. Tim Ryan, D-Ohio, speaks at the Heartland Forum held on the campus of Buena Vista University in Storm Lake, Iowa, Saturday, March 30, 2019.
Nati Harnik—AP Rep. Tim Ryan, D-Ohio, speaks at the Heartland Forum held on the campus of Buena Vista University in Storm Lake, Iowa, Saturday, March 30, 2019.

In 2016, the congressman from Ohio unsuccessfully challenged Nancy Pelosi for the role of House minority leader. He aims to appeal to working-class voters.

Mayor Bill de Blasio: Met the polling threshold only

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio speaks to the press in Wagner Park on May 16, 2019.
JOHANNES EISELE—AFP/Getty Images New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio speaks to the press in Wagner Park on May 16, 2019.

De Blasio is hoping to convert his job as mayor of New York City to the White House, following similar attempts by Rudy Giuliani and Michael Bloomberg.

The candidates who haven’t met either standard yet
Montana Gov. Steve Bullock: Although previously thought to have qualified for the debates, the Montana governor was bumped off the stage when the DNC retroactively disqualified one of the three polls that would have put Bullock over the polling threshold. Bullock is known for advocating for campaign finance reform and issuing an executive order to reinstate net neutrality in Montana after the FCC repeal.
Rep. Seth Moulton: The Massachusetts representative served four tours in Iraq with the Marines, and he has billed himself as the national security candidate. Despite his status as a congressman, Moulton is a political outsider who has advocated for the removal of Nancy Pelosi from House Democratic leadership.
Miramar, Fla., Mayor Wayne Messam: The mayor of Miramar, Fl. is running as an outsider candidate. “Washington is broken,” he said in his announcement video. As mayor, he has helped residents in the aftermath of Hurricane Irma. One of his key policy proposals is canceling student loan debt.
Former Alaska Sen. Mike Gravel: Two 18-year-olds have run the former Alaska senator’s presidential campaign, and they have even assumed control of his Twitter account. “When I finally succumbed to their pressures, I gave them access to the Twitter and they gave me a veto power, which I’ve only exercised once, by warning them about rough language,” Gravel, who is known for his antiwar record, told CBS. “Other than that, it’s been their show.”
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