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DNC Announces Framework for the 2020 Democratic Presidential Primary Debates

Washington, D.C. — Since his campaign for chair of the Democratic National Committee, DNC Chair Tom Perez has promised to conduct a presidential primary process that is transparent, fair, inclusive, and puts the party in the best possible position to take back the White House in 2020.

Perez has followed through on this promise by passing historic reforms that have expanded the use of primaries, made caucuses more accessible, reduced the influence of superdelegates, and increased transparency of the DNC’s budget and operations. He is continuing this effort with his approach to the presidential primary debates.

Perez and his team have held more than 80 meetings over the course of many months with a variety of individuals who have knowledge of and experience with the debate process.

Today, Chair Perez is pleased to announce the DNC’s framework for several key elements of the 2020 Democratic presidential primary debate process.

“To win back the presidency in 2020, Democrats must lead with our values. That began with the historic reforms to expand and increase trust in our party, and it will continue by conducting party business fairly, transparently, and inclusively throughout the 2020 primary process,” said Chair Perez. “To that end, we have listened and learned about debate experiences from a wide array of stakeholders.

“My goal in this framework is to give the grassroots a bigger voice than ever before; to showcase our candidates on an array of media platforms; to present opportunity for vigorous discussion about issues, ideas and solutions; and to reach as many potential voters as possible. That is how we will put our nominee in the strongest position possible to defeat Donald Trump, and how we will help elect Democrats up and down the ballot.”

KEY DETAILS OF THE 2020 DEMOCRATIC PRIMARY DEBATE CALENDAR:
• The DNC is announcing 12 presidential primary debates over the course of the 2020 cycle, with six debates in 2019 and six in 2020.
• The first two debates will occur in June and July 2019. After a break in August, there will be one debate per month for the rest of 2019.
• The DNC currently plans to hold its last debate in April of 2020. All early-state debates will be held in 2020.
• The DNC will not bar candidates from participating in forums in which one candidate appears on stage at a time. The DNC will ask candidates to refrain from participating in debates other than the 12 debates sanctioned by the DNC.
• In order to give our candidates a platform to make their case to voters, the DNC will seek to maximize the viewership of each debate.
• The DNC will announce specific dates, locations, sponsors and more in 2019.
• Given the fluid nature of the presidential nominating process, the DNC will continuously assess the state of the race and make adjustments to this process as appropriate, and always transparently.

FOR THE FIRST TWO DEBATES:
• The first two debates will occur in June and July 2019. In order to accommodate a potentially large field of candidates, both may occur over multiple consecutive nights.
• In the event that the qualifying field of candidates requires these debates to be held over multiple nights, the lineup for each night will be determined at random, with qualifying candidates assigned one night per debate. The random selection of candidates will be done publicly.
• In addition to meeting the filing and constitutional requirements to run for President of the United States, candidates will qualify for the first two debates by meeting criteria that include both polling and other objective measures that reflect a candidate’s support, such as grassroots fundraising.
• The specific criteria for the first two debates will be announced in January 2019.

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