Biden to face off against Harris in Detroit Democratic debate

Emma Kinery, Bloomberg News on

Published in Political News

WASHINGTON -- Democratic front-runner Joe Biden will face off against Kamala Harris on the second night of the two-part presidential primary debate in Detroit at the end of the month.

Bernie Sanders will be matched up against Elizabeth Warren in another group of 10 candidates on the first night, July 30.

This will be the second event to feature a Biden-Harris matchup. In the first Democratic debate in Miami last month, Harris seized the spotlight with fierce criticism of Biden for his opposition to busing in the 1970s. The Warren-Sanders matchup is also likely to draw attention as its the first time the two liberal firebrands will debate.

CNN, which is organizing the debate, announced the lineups in a random draw that was broadcast live on a special edition of "Anderson Cooper 360." In a spectacle reminiscent of a Lotto drawing, three of the network's anchors pulled cards with the candidates' names from one box and then drew a second card indicating the debate night from another box.

Here are the candidates who will appear July 30:

Steve Bullock, Montana governor; Pete Buttigieg, South Bend, Ind., mayor; John Delaney, former U.S. congressman from Maryland; John Hickenlooper, former Colorado governor; Amy Klobuchar, U.S. senator from Minnesota; Beto O'Rourke, former U.S. congressman from Texas; Tim Ryan, U.S. congressman from Ohio; Bernie Sanders, U.S. senator from Vermont; Elizabeth Warren, U.S. senator from Massachusetts; Marianne Williamson, author.

Here are the candidates who will appear July 31:

Joe Biden, former vice president; Kamala Harris, U.S. senator from California; Andrew Yang, entrepreneur; Julian Castro, former secretary of Housing and Urban Development; Cory Booker, U.S. senator from New Jersey; Tulsi Gabbard, U.S. congresswoman from Hawaii; Michael Bennet, U.S. senator from Colorado; Bill de Blasio, New York City mayor; Jay Inslee, Washington governor; Kirsten Gillibrand, U.S. senator from New York.

The unusual fanfare reflects the significant public interest in the first round in Miami in June, when almost 18.1 million Americans tuned in for the second night, a record television audience for a Democratic primary debate. A Pew poll Thursday showed that interest in the race among Democrats and Democratic-leaning adults is at a record high. About two-thirds say they have been following news about candidates very or fairly closely.

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Before the live drawing, the contenders were grouped into three tiers based on polling to ensure that each stage features a mix of top-scoring and lower-scoring candidates. Candidates in each group were divided evenly over the two nights. In the last debate, Warren was the only top-polling candidate on the first night.

The top tier included Biden, Warren, Sanders and Harris. Booker, Buttigieg, Castro, Klobuchar, O'Rourke and Yang made up the second tier with the rest of the candidates in the third.

CNN also changed some formatting rules from the first debate. The network said there will not be questions that ask candidates to raise their hands nor will contenders sequentially provide a one-word response to the same question. Any candidate who "consistently interrupts" others will have their time reduced.

The candidates who won't make the second debate are Seth Moulton, congressman from Massachusetts and Wayne Messam, mayor of Miramar, Florida. Billionaire activist Tom Steyer and former Pennsylvania Rep. Joe Sestak, who recently joined the race, didn't qualify because they haven't been included in polls.

Only five candidates in the field of two dozen have qualified for the third debate in September where the threshold was doubled to 130,000 unique donors and at least 2% in four qualifying polls. Biden, Buttigieg, Harris, Sanders and Warren have solidified their place on the stage by attaining both qualifiers. O'Rourke, Castro and Yang have garnered over 130,000 unique donors and Booker has met the polling threshold.

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