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What you need to know about Wednesday's Democratic presidential debate

This time, only 10 of the 18 candidates will be on the stage

FILE PHOTO: Twelve Democratic presidential candidates participate Oct. 15 in the fourth U.S. Democratic presidential candidates 2020 election debate at Otterbein University in Westerville, Ohio. The fifth debate — now winnowed to 10 candidates — is Wednesday from Atlanta. (Shannon Stapleton/Reuters)
FILE PHOTO: Twelve Democratic presidential candidates participate Oct. 15 in the fourth U.S. Democratic presidential candidates 2020 election debate at Otterbein University in Westerville, Ohio. The fifth debate — now winnowed to 10 candidates — is Wednesday from Atlanta. (Shannon Stapleton/Reuters)

Ten Democratic presidential hopefuls who made the increasingly rigorous cut to share in the national spotlight will take the stage Wednesday night in the latest presidential nomination debate.

When: The nationally televised debate will go for two hours starting at 8 p.m. Iowa time Wednesday.

Where: This round of the presidential debates, originating from Atlanta, will be aired on MSNBC. It also will be livestreamed for free at MSNBC.com and washingtonpost.com.

Who: The 10 making the stage are: Vice President Joe Biden; Sen. Cory Booker of New Jersey; Mayor Pete Buttigieg of South Bend, Ind.; Rep. Tulsi Gabbard of Hawaii; Sen. Kamala Harris of California; Sen. Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota; Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont, billionaire activist Tom Steyer, Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren; and New York entrepreneur Andrew Yang.

Who’s missing: Two who were at the previous debate — former Texas Rep. Beto O’Rourke and former U.S. Housing Secretary Julian Castro — won’t be on stage Wednesday. O’Rourke dropped out of the race and Castro didn’t make the cut. Also not there are former Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick, who announced his candidacy last week, and former New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg, who’s indicated he’s going to jump in to the race but hasn’t yet,

Criteria: For this fifth round, candidates had to get at least 3 percent of support in at least four early-state or national polls recognized by the Democratic National Committee, and have 165,000 unique donors. Those thresholds were up from 2 percent in the polls and 130,000 individual donors in the two previous debates.

Who’s asking the questions? The all-female panel of moderators is: Rachel Maddow; Andrea Mitchell; NBC News White House Correspondent Kristen Welker; and Washington Post White House reporter Ashley Parker.

What to watch for: This is first gathering of most of the Democratic candidates for president since Warren announced her Medicare-for-all idea would be phased in, and since results of the Iowa Poll catapulted Buttigieg into the lead in the state among Democratic likely caucusgoers. Both are likely to be targets of rivals, and of each other.

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What’s next: The sixth debate will be hosted Dec. 19 by PBS and Politico in Los Angeles. This time, candidates will need to hit 4 percent in four party-approved national or early-voting state polls and get at least 200,000 unique donations to make the cut.

Reuters and MSNBC contributed.

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