This Thursday night, the 2020 Democratic presidential candidates will face off for one night only for the first time ever, after the Democratic National Committee's (DNC) rules and several dropouts have whittled down the qualifying field to just 10.
Now that the field has been halved since the July debate, which lasted two nights, commentators are zeroing in on potential new fault lines between the candidates. Former Vice President Joe Biden and Sen. Elizabeth Warren — current frontrunners #1 and #2, respectively — will be sharing the stage for the first time. The ideological factions they occupy within the Democratic Party will likely be highlighted.
This is also the first time that the two top-polling women, Warren and Sen. Kamala Harris, will appear on the same debate stage. And with Harris announcing her much-anticipated criminal justice plan this week, directly confronting critics of her prosecutorial record, other candidates may take the opportunity to challenge her stances.
Primary debates often underscore divisions within the party, Hans Noel, an associate professor of government at Georgetown University, told TIME. “Most of the candidates agree on nearly everything, especially broadly speaking. So the moderators will try to find space between the candidates,” he said.
While debate topics aren't released ahead of time, it's very likely that climate change will come up given that six of the candidates recently announced their plans to fight its threat, and the recent devastation Hurricane Dorian has caused. Gun laws are also likely to come up, with the recent wave of mass shootings in August.
Ready for round 3? Ahead, we'll tell you everything you need to know about the third Democratic primary debate. (And stay tuned for our recap of the debate's key moments!)
When is the third Democratic primary debate?
The third Democratic presidential primary debate will take place on Thursday, September 12, at Texas Southern University in Houston. ABC News will host in partnership with Univision. It will air for three hours, from 8 to 11 p.m. ET.
Who are the Democratic candidates who qualified for the third presidential debate?
The DNC qualification requirements changed this time around, making it harder for candidates to qualify. Candidates must have received campaign contributions from at least 130,000 individuals and hit the 2% threshold in at least four DNC-approved polls in order to appear on the stage.
The 10 candidates who made the cut are former Vice President Joe Biden; Sen. Bernie Sanders; Sen. Elizabeth Warren; Sen. Kamala Harris; Mayor Pete Buttigieg; former Texas Rep. Beto O’Rourke; Sen. Cory Booker; Sen. Amy Klobuchar; former Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Julián Castro; and Andrew Yang.
Candidates will stand on the stage based on their polling numbers, with the highest-polling contenders closer to the middle. They will each have one minute and 15 seconds to respond to moderators' questions, and 45 seconds to respond to follow-up questions and rebuttals from their colleagues. They are permitted to give opening statements, but no closing statements.
Several candidates have recently dropped out, including Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, Washington Gov. Jay Inslee, former Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper, and California Rep. Eric Swalwell.
Who did not qualify for the September Democratic debate?
Hawaii Rep. Tulsi Gabbard; author Marianne Williamson; billionaire executive Tom Steyer; Colorado Sen. Michael Bennet; Montana Gov. Steve Bullock; New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio; former Maryland Rep. John Delaney; Miramar, FL, Mayor Wayne Messam; Ohio Rep. Tim Ryan; and former Pennsylvania Rep. Joe Sestak did not meet the DNC's requirements for the third debate.
How can I watch the third Democratic debate?
ABC News and ABC News Live will broadcast the debate. It will also be broadcast locally on KTRK-TV. Univision will offer a Spanish translation. You can also stream the debate on Hulu Live, the Roku Channel, Facebook Watch, Twitter, AppleTV, Amazon Fire TV, YouTube, and Apple News.
Who are the Democratic debate moderators?
The four moderators will be ABC News chief anchor George Stephanopoulos, ABC News World News Tonight anchor and managing editor David Muir, ABC News correspondent Linsey Davis, and Univision anchor Jorge Ramos.
What is the Democratic debate schedule?
Third Debate: September 12, 2019, at Texas Southern University in Houston.
Fourth Debate: October 15 and 16, 2019, in Ohio.
Fifth Debate: November 2019.
Sixth Debate: December 2019.
Seventh Debate: January 2020.
Eighth Debate: January or February 2020.
Ninth Debate: February 2020.
10th Debate: February 2020.
11th Debate: March 2020.
12th Debate: April 2020.
What happened in the second Democratic debate?
Medicare for All was a hotly debated topic, and Sen. Kamala Harris criticized Joe Biden on his flip-flopping stance on the Hyde Amendment, which bars the use of federal funds to pay for abortion services. Candidates also discussed the water crisis in Flint, MI, criminal justice, and more. Read our recap of the second Democratic debate here.
Who won the second Democratic debate?
The second Democratic debate was split into two nights, with 10 candidates taking the stage on each Tuesday, July 30, and Wednesday, July 31. The big winners of the first night were Sen. Bernie Sanders and Sen. Elizabeth Warren, two progressives who made a strong case for one of their signature issues: Medicare for All. While there was no clear winner of the second night's debate, supporters of Medicare for All again had their moment, with healthcare policy being the most-discussed topic across both nights. Many of the candidates expressed their support for universal healthcare and distanced themselves from Joe Biden's anti-single-payer stance.