Democratic Debate: How to Watch, Who Qualified in Nevada - Rolling Stone
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Everything You Need to Know About the Nevada Democratic Primary Debate

6 candidates qualified for February 19th debate ahead of the Nevada caucuses

Democratic presidential candidate, former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg speaks at the ?U.S. Conference of Mayors' Winter Meeting, in WashingtonElection 2020 Michael Bloomberg, Washington, USA - 22 Jan 2020

Mike Bloomberg speaks at the U.S. Conference of Mayors' Winter Meeting on January 22nd, 2020, in Washington, D.C.

Patrick Semansky/AP/Shutterstock

Related: RS Politics 2020 Democratic Primary Leaderboard

What number debate is this? Twelve? We have to be getting close to 10, at least. It’s nine? It’s nine. Ahem …

The ninth Democratic debate will take place Wednesday, February 19th in Las Vegas, just three days before Nevada holds its caucuses on Saturday, February 22nd. Democratic primary debates have become pretty stale at this point, but Wednesday night’s showdown should be interesting, considering it will be the first time Mike Bloomberg will share a stage with his competitors. The former New York mayor has been surging in the polls thanks largely to his bank account, and the rest of the field seems ready to take advantage of their first chance to go after the billionaire.

Progressive Sens. Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren have repeatedly accused Bloomberg of trying to buy the presidency, and Warren made clear earlier this week that she plans to go after him on the debate stage.

Sen. Amy Klobuchar, who finished a surprising third in the New Hampshire primary, has also indicated that she plans to take aim at Bloomberg on Wednesday. “I know I’m not going to beat him on the air, but I can beat him on the debate stage because I believe my argument for my candidacy is so much stronger,” she said Sunday on CNN’s State of the Union.

Though the Democratic field — and President Trump’s Twitter feed — are zeroing in on Bloomberg, Sanders has quietly separated himself from the field. He currently holds a 14-point lead in Nevada, and has opened up an 11-point lead nationally, according to a RealClearPolitics polling average.

To see where the candidates stand before they step behind a podium for the ninth time, check out Rolling Stone‘s 2020 Democratic Primary Leaderboard.

Here’s everything else you need to know about the debates:

How to watch the debate

The debate will take place Wednesday, February 19th, at the Paris Theater in Las Vegas. It will begin at 9 p.m. ET and end at 11 p.m. ET. The debate will be co-hosted by NBC News, MSNBC, and the Nevada Independent. It will be broadcast live on NBC and MSNBC, and live-streamed at,, and on the Nevada Independent’s website.

The debate will be moderated by Lester Holt of NBC Nightly News, Chuck Todd of Meet the Press, NBC News White House correspondent Hallie Jackson, Vanessa Hauc of Noticias Telemundo, and Jon Ralston of the Nevada Independent.

Which candidates made the debate?

Six candidates qualified for the Nevada debate. To qualify, candidates were required to either earn at least 10-percent support in at least four recognized polls national, Nevada, or South Carolina polls; or earn at least 12-percent support in at least two polls from Nevada or South Carolina.

A donation threshold had previously been required for qualification, but the Democratic National Committee announced it would scrap this threshold beginning with the Nevada debate. The move drew widespread condemnation, with critics accusing the DNC of giving special treatment to the billionaire Bloomberg, while candidates of color like Cory Booker and Julián Castro were shut out of previous debates for failing to reach fundraising thresholds.

Below are the six candidates who satisfied both criteria and will appear on the debate stage on Friday, ordered by their podium position, from left to right:

Bernie Sanders
Joe Biden
Mike Bloomberg
Pete Buttigieg
Elizabeth Warren
Amy Klobuchar

Which candidates didn’t make the debate?

There are two declared candidates who did not qualify for the fifth debate: Tom Steyer and Tulsi Gabbard.

Is the debate a good occasion to drink?

Yes. Yes, it is.

When is the next debate?

The next — of four more debates following Wednesday’s — will take place February 25th in Charleston, South Carolina.


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