- The Washington Times - Friday, June 14, 2019

Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts and former Texas Rep. Beto O’Rourke will headline the opening night of back-to-back Democratic presidential debates later this month and help set the tone for the next night’s showdown featuring four of the five polling leaders.

Former Vice President Joseph R. Biden, Sen. Bernard Sanders, South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg and Sen. Kamala Harris of California are slated to share the stage on night two, which is already being billed as the main event.

The first debate of the 2020 election cycle is being spread out over two nights to accommodate the massive field of contenders. The Democratic National Committee invited 20 candidates that qualified under polling and fundraising criteria it set in February.

NBC News announced the first group also will consist of Sens. Cory Booker of New Jersey and Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota; Reps. Tulsi Gabbard of Hawaii and Tim Ryan of Ohio; former Housing Secretary Julian Castro, former Rep. John Delaney of Maryland; New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio; and Gov. Jay Inslee of Washington.

Sens. Kirsten Gillibrand of New York and Michael Bennet of Colorado; author Marianne Williamson; Rep. Eric Swalwell of California; entrepreneur Andrew Yang; and former Gov. John Hickenlooper of Colorado round out the list of participants appearing on the second night.

The debates, scheduled for June 26 and June 27 in Miami, will mark the first high-profile national event of the 2020 Democratic presidential race and the first time the audience will be able to see the top candidates interact on the same stage.

The lineup announcement sparked a flurry of campaign fundraising emails.

“The debates will mark a new chapter of the race,” the Warren camp said in a fundraising email.

Team Booker said, “This debate will be a make or break moment for a lot of campaigns, including ours, and we’re confident that Cory will shine through.”

Ms. Harris said when she gets on the debate stage she will be “ready to make the case — for our positive vision of the America I know we can build together, and against four more years of this Administration.”

Gov. Steve Bullock of Montana, who announced his bid last month, and Rep. Seth Moulton of Massachusetts are the most well-known candidates to miss the cut.

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