The first debate is on June 26th and 27th. They will randomly select up to 10 candidates for each night (no repeat candidates).
In order to qualify for the first two debates, debate entrants must either:
- Attain a minimum of 1% support in minimum three approved official polls for either the national level or the first four primary states (Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada, and South Carolina). The polling threshold will be determined using polls published after January 1, 2019 up until two weeks before the scheduled debate, among polls commissioned or conducted by a limited set of organizations (with candidates only able to count one poll by the same pollster within each region towards the requirement): the Associated Press, ABC News, CBS News, CNN, The Des Moines Register, Fox News, the Las Vegas Review-Journal, Monmouth University, NBC News, The New York Times, National Public Radio, Quinnipiac University, Reuters, the University of New Hampshire, USA Today, The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, and Winthrop University.
- Meet a fundraising threshold, in which a candidate must receive donations from 65,000 unique donors, with at least 200 unique donors per state in at least 20 states. Candidates who wish to qualify using the fundraising threshold must present evidence to the DNC of their eligibility using donor data collected by ActBlue or NGP VAN.
Based on the current polling, Sanders, Harris, O'Rourke, Buttigieg, Warren, Booker, Klobuchar, Yang, Castro and Hickenlooper are the only ones that meet the 1% at the national level. Delaney, Gillibrand and Gabbard might meet the state criteria. All of the previously listed candidates have met the fundraising threshold.
Inslee meets the fundraising but not the polling while Gravel, Messam, Ryan, Swalwell, Williamson, and Moulton have not yet met either requirement.
If more than 20 candidates eventually meet the above requirements, they will use a polling and fundraising formula to narrow down the top 20.