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When to watch, what to expect in second Democratic presidential candidate debates

This may be the last time we see so many on the same debate stage

Former Vice President Joe Biden and Sen. Kamala Harris debate racial issues as Sen. Bernie Sanders listens during the second night of the first U.S. Democratic presidential candidates 2020 election debate in Miami in June. The second debate will be Tuesday and Wednesday in Detroit. (REUTERS/Mike Segar)
Former Vice President Joe Biden and Sen. Kamala Harris debate racial issues as Sen. Bernie Sanders listens during the second night of the first U.S. Democratic presidential candidates 2020 election debate in Miami in June. The second debate will be Tuesday and Wednesday in Detroit. (REUTERS/Mike Segar)

The second set of televised debates starting Tuesday night between 20 Democratic presidential candidates is — like the first pair last month — spread over two nights.

But unlike the last time, one candidate who did not make the cut then (Montana Gov. Steve Bullock) now has and will be on stage. But one who did qualify that time (California Rep. Eric Swalwell) since has dropped out.

And if you’re trying to keep score, one hopeful announced his candidacy too late (billionaire Tom Steyer) to qualify this time and is trying for September’s debate instead.

Here is what you need to know about the debates and some of the things to watch out for:

When and where can I watch them?

The debates, held this time in Detroit, run from 7 to 9 p.m. Iowa time Tuesday and Wednesday. They are televised on CNN and livestreamed on CNN.com.

Who is on stage which night?

Like the previous debate hosted by NBC, CNN is dividing the candidates into two groups of 10 each.

The first panel: Bullock; South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete Buttigieg; former Maryland Rep. John Delaney; Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper; Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar; former Texas Rep. Beto O’Rourke; Ohio Rep. Tim Ryan; Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders; Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren; and author Marianne Williamson.

The second night’s panel: Colorado Sen. Michael Bennet; former Vice President Joe Biden; New Jersey Sen. Corey Booker; former Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julián Castro; New York Mayor Bill de Blasio; Hawaii Rep. Tulsi Gabbard; New York Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand; California Sen. Kamala Harris; Washington Gov. Jay Inslee; and businessman Andrew Yang.

Who is asking the questions?

According to CNN, its moderators will be Dana Bash, Don Lemon and Jake Tapper.

Will there be drama?

This almost certainly will be the last time all 20 of these candidates get a shot at the national limelight. And so each one will be looking for the chance to make a mark. Will the most liberal of the first night’s panel — Sanders and Warren — verbally duke it out? They say their campaigns have a sort of detente. Will Harris continue to go after Biden, since they again share the stage Wednesday? Biden, who seemed to be caught unaware last month by Harris’ upbraiding, says he won’t be so nice this time around. And will Inslee get a word in edgewise this time on his key topic — climate change?

Why is this the last time many of the 2020 Democratic hopefuls will share the same spotlight?

Because it’ll be much more difficult to get into the September and October debates. To qualify for those, candidates must score at least 2 percent public support from approved pollsters and get 130,000 unique donors from the date of their campaign’s creation. And that’s harder than it may seem. That must include 400 or more donors from each of at least 20 states. Compare that with the criteria to be invited to the first debates: just 1 percent public support in three approved polls, or getting campaign contributions from 65,000 donors, including 200 donors each from 20 states.

When and were is the next televised debate?

The next forum is Sept. 12, with a second to be held Sept. 13 if the size of the field requires it. It’ll be broadcast from Houston on ABC and Univision.

With so much at stake, will the candidates be returning to Iowa?

Biden’s wife, Jill, is scheduled this Thursday and Friday to visit Sioux City, Council Bluffs, Glenwood and Clarinda on his behalf. Delaney has set four events Sunday in Iowa. So far, 21 Democrats have booked time between Aug. 8 and 17 to speak at the Iowa State Fair. And so has one Republican — former Massachusetts Gov. Bill Weld, who hopes to give President Donald Trump a run for the GOP nomination.

The Los Angeles Times and CNN contributed to this report.

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