First Democratic presidential debate set for Miami's Arsht Center, host NBC News announces

The event, expected to be an early defining moment in the primary, is set for June 26-27 and will air on NBC, MSNBC and Telemundo.
Image: Carnival Center For The Performing Arts - Grand Opening
The Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts in Miami Beach, Florida.Victor Malafronte / Getty Images file

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By Alex Seitz-Wald

WASHINGTON — The first Democratic presidential debate will take place at the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts in downtown Miami on June 26 and June 27, NBC News announced Friday.

NBC News, MSNBC and Telemundo are hosting the first official debate of the primary season, which will air live across all three networks from 9 to 11 p.m. ET. each night.

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Twenty candidates will participate — 10 on each night — and to qualify, candidates need to meet one of two thresholds: Either register at least 1 percent support in at least three polls or collect at least 65,000 online donations.

So far, at least 18 candidates have qualified, according to an unofficial analysis by NBC News.

If more than 20 qualify, which looks increasingly likely as the Democratic 2020 field keeps growing, then candidates who meet both qualifications will be given a preference, followed by those who have the highest polling average, then those with the most online donations.

The debate is expected to be a defining moment in Democrats' nomination battle to take on President Donald Trump, and the crowded field of candidates have viewed making the stage as crucial to their campaigns.

The Arsht Center is in the heart of downtown Miami and was designed by renowned architect César Pelli. It opened in 2006 and stages nearly 400 events each year, including a large jazz series, programs of new theatrical works, as well as free events for the community and an arts education program that serves nearly 60,000 children each year.

Information for those interested in attending the NBC debate will be announced at a later date.