Donald Trump may think ABC’s George Stephanopoulos is a “little wise guy,” but NBC, the DNC and Lady Luck have denied Sen. Elizabeth Warren a chance to take on the big boys in the first debates among Democrats who want the ex-Celebrity Apprentice host’s job.
After a random draw at 30 Rock today with party and candidate officials in attendance, the June 26 and June 27 tussles will see the Massachusetts senator and third-highest-ranking Dem in the 2020 race relegated to sharing the stage with the minuscule polling likes of Rep. Tulsi Gabbard and former HUD Secretary Julian Castro.
The debates are set to air live from Miami’s Adrienne Arsht Center on NBC, MSNBC, CNBC and in translation on Telemundo
More than six months before the first actual primary season voting starts with the February 3 Iowa caucus, ex-VP Joe Biden leads the field of 20-plus candidates with 2016 election alum Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont in second and Trump irritant Warren close behind.
The selection by the Comcast-owned news division of who would appear on what night of the doubleheader Dem debates was intended to mix high- and low-polling candidates. However, it has ended up with four of the top five polling contenders (Biden, Sanders, Sen. Kamala Harris of California, Mayor Pete Buttigieg of South Bend, IN) on the now-marquee Night 2 and Warren at the kids table, so to speak.
To even make it to the debates, a candidate needed to have at least 1% support in three qualifying polls or provide evidence of at least $65,000 individual donations from a minimum of 200 different donors in at least 20 states. Further culling the herd, if more than 20 candidates had reached one of those two qualifications, the top 20 would have been selected by using a separate method that rewards contenders for meeting both thresholds, followed by highest polling averages and then the most unique donors.
As always when it comes to the Democrats, Hollywood has some serious skin in this game. While almost everyone has been out West to hang with deep pocket Tinseltown donors like Jeffrey Katzenberg and JJ Abrams and Katie McGrath, Biden, Harris and Buttigieg have proved the most successful at the Hollywood ATM. In fact, the South Bend, Indiana Mayor will be in town for a slew of fundraisers on June 18 and 19th, with stops at Ryan Murphy’s pad and a lunch co-hosted by Ted Sarandos’ spouse and former U.S. Ambassador Nicole Avant.
With that likely hefty cash in Buttigieg’s coffers, here’s who will be where at the debates:
Night 1: Wednesday, June 26
Sen. Cory Booker Sen. Elizabeth Warren Rep. Beto O’Rourke Sen. Amy Klobuchar Rep. John Delaney Rep. Tulsi Gabbard Sec. Julian Castro Rep. Tim Ryan Mayor Bill de Blasio
Gov. Jay Inslee