ABC announces rules for next Democratic debates, gives candidates more time to talk

The debate will be held in Houston on Sept. 12, and a second night may be added if more candidates qualify.
Image: Democratic primary debate
From left, Democratic presidential hopefuls, Michael Bennet, Kirsten Gillibrand, Julian Castro, Cory Booker, Joe Biden, Kamala Harris, Andrew Yang, Tulsi Gabbard, Jay Inslee and Bill de Blasio participate in the Democratic primary debate hosted by CNN at the Fox Theatre in Detroit, Michigan on July 31, 2019.Brendan Smialowski / AFP - Getty Images file

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By Dareh Gregorian

The third Democratic presidential debate will give candidates more time to answer questions, event host ABC announced Wednesday.

The debate, which will be held at Houston's Texas Southern University on Sept. 12, will give candidates one minute and 15 seconds for direct responses to questions and 45 seconds for rebuttals, the network said.

That's up from the one minute responses and 30 second rebuttal times in the first two debates, which were hosted by NBC and CNN respectively.

To qualify for the debate, candidates need to have at least four polls showing them at 2 percent support or greater and at least 130,00 unique donors.

Ten candidates appear to have reached that benchmark so far — former Vice President Joe Biden; New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker; Mayor Pete Buttigieg of South Bend, Indiana; California Sen. Kamala Harris; Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar; former Texas Rep. Beto O’Rourke; Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders; Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren; former Housing Secretary Julián Castro and entrepreneur Andrew Yang.

If more candidates wind up qualifying, a second night will be added on Sept. 13. ABC said it would hold a "selection event" on Aug. 29 to "randomly assign" the candidates to one of the nights.

The network, which is partnering with Univision for the debates, also announced it will have four moderators, ABC's George Stephanopoulos, David Muir and Linsey Davis and Univision's Jorge Ramos.