CNN Will Hold a Live Drawing to Determine the Next Democratic Primary Debate Lineup

By A.J. Katz 

Dana Bash, Don Lemon and Jake Tapper will moderate CNN’s first Democratic primary debate of the 2020 election cycle, set to take place over two nights, July 30-31, from Detroit.

In anticipation of the event, CNN is holding a live drawing next Thursday, July 18 at 8 p.m. ET to determine the candidate lineup for each of the two nights.

Sounds sort of like the annual NCAA Men’s/Women’s Basketball Tournament Selection Show.


The 20 candidates invited to participate in the debates will be notified by the Democratic National Committee and CNN on the evening of Wednesday, July 17, and the draw to determine the night on which each candidate will participate, along with who he or she will be going up against, will take place on Thursday.

More than 20 Democratic candidates are vying for the Democratic party’s presidential nomination, but pre-established qualifying rules make clear that only 20 candidates, split across two nights, are eligible to participate. Candidates must either have 1% support in three qualified polls or have 65,000 donors to their campaign, with a minimum of 200 different donors per state in at least 20 states to qualify.

The live drawing will take place just one day after former special counsel and FBI director Robert Mueller is expected to testify publicly before the House Judiciary and Intelligence Committees.

Mueller’s highly anticipated testimony comes as an increasing number of lawmakers, including some 2020 presidential candidates, are calling for an impeachment inquiry to begin against President Trump.

A total of 12 presidential primary debates are planned during the 2020 election cycle. Six debates will be held in 2019, and the other six will be held in 2020.

Both nights will air live exclusively on CNN and CNN en Español. The debates will also be simulcast on CNN International. CNN’s Debates will also stream live without requiring log-in to a cable provider, exclusively to, CNN’s apps for iOS and Android and via CNNgo apps for Apple TV, Roku, Amazon Fire, Chromecast, and Android TV.