The battle for 2020: Possible Democratic presidential nominees
Miami won’t be the home of the 2020 Democratic convention, but the city will get to host the first debates among the top 20 candidates hoping to win the party’s nomination.
The Democratic National Committee announced Thursday that it has selected Miami to host the party’s first debates, on June 26 and 27. The events will be televised on NBC, MSNBC and Telemundo, where the broadcast will include real-time Spanish translations.
The DNC did not say where the debates would be held, although the Miami Herald has learned that the party has at least inquired about using the James L. Knight Center downtown.
“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 Chairman Tom Perez said in a statement.
The debates are scheduled over two nights as the DNC expects to make room for as many as 20 candidates. Participants in a given debate will be selected randomly, so headliners like Bernie Sanders and Kamala Harris could be on stage with fringe candidates like Andrew Yang or even Miramar Mayor Wayne Messam.
Candidates must poll at 1 percent nationally or in early primary states in three different polls, or receive donations from at least 65,000 individuals to qualify. If more than 20 candidates meet the polling or donation criteria, the party will prioritize candidates who accomplished both.
Perez announced Miami as the site for the first of its debates leading into 2020 one day after the Miami-Dade Democratic Party sent him a letter urging the national party to hold its first debate in South Florida, the Democratic bastion of the largest swing state in the nation.
“There will be more than 30 million Hispanic voters in 2020. We need to ensure their issues are at the forefront of our party’s priorities,” wrote local party chairman Steve Simeonidis. “A great way to begin an early and aggressive outreach campaign to Hispanic voters would be to host the first Democratic primary debate in the Gateway to Latin America and the Caribbean — Miami-Dade County.”
The DNC has planned to host a dozen debates ahead of its 2020 convention, when the party will decide who will face Donald Trump as he runs for reelection.