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2nd Democratic Primary Debate: See Which Candidates Made The Cut

Jul 17, 2019
Originally published on July 17, 2019 4:43 pm

The 20-person lineup for the two-night Democratic presidential debate on July 30 and 31 will look familiar, with just one change from last month's event.

Last week, California Rep. Eric Swalwell became the first major candidate to end his White House bid. Montana Gov. Steve Bullock — after only narrowly missing the mark last time — will take his place.

The criteria for the second debate was the same as the first, requiring hopefuls to meet either a polling or fundraising benchmark. A candidate must have registered at least 1% in three polls recognized by the Democratic National Committee. Or the candidates must have 65,000 donors, with at least 200 donors in 20 states.

Fourteen candidates met both requirements — former Vice President Joe Biden, California Sen. Kamala Harris, New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker, South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete Buttigieg, former Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julián Castro, Hawaii Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, New York Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, Washington Gov. Jay Inslee, Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar, former Texas Rep. Beto O'Rourke, Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren, author and spiritual adviser Marianne Williamson, and entrepreneur Andrew Yang.

The remaining six candidates made the cut because of their standing in the polls, but did not meet the donor threshold — Bullock, Colorado Sen. Michael Bennet, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, former Maryland Rep. John Delaney, former Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper and Ohio Rep. Tim Ryan.

Former Alaska Sen. Mike Gravel qualified based on donations alone, but under the DNC formula, polling is given greater weight, thus he didn't make the cut. Ten candidates will be debating each night.

Other major candidates left off the stage include Massachusetts Rep. Seth Moulton and Miramar, Fla., Mayor Wayne Messam. Former Pennsylvania Rep. Joe Sestak, who just entered the race late last month, and billionaire executive and activist Tom Steyer, who reversed his initial decision to pass on the race last week, also haven't qualified, with little time to register in polls or raise money.

CNN, which is hosting this next series of debates in Detroit, will hold a live drawing on Thursday at 8 p.m. ET to determine which candidates will appear on which night. That's where the real shake-up will happen, shuffling which White House hopefuls get to face off against one another and which will have a chance to take aim at the top-tier candidates.

In the first debate, Harris seized her chance against Biden in the second night of the debate. She went after him over his past opposition to mandated busing to integrate schools in the 1970s, and Biden faltered in his response. That helped her rise in many polls.

On the first debate night, Castro found a chance to emerge from the pack after taking a firm stance on decriminalizing illegal border crossings and taking on fellow Texan O'Rourke's reluctance to back such a change. Castro saw his fundraising surge while O'Rourke has continued to struggle.

The stakes of performing well in the July debate could be high for several candidates.

The criteria for the third debate in September is expected to winnow the field further. Candidates will have to register at least 2% in at least four national or statewide polls recognized by the committee and get donations from at least 130,000 unique donors, along with 400 unique donors in 20 states. If a candidate does not hit both benchmarks, they will be off the stage.

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