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Here Are the Rules For the First Democratic Primary Debate

AP Photo/Robert F. Bukaty

Nerves are flying high as the Democratic primary debates edge closer. 

With the release of its debate rules, the Democratic National Committee is causing candidates to prepare their message in quick, bite-sized segments. 


According to NBC News, candidates will have 60 seconds to answer questions and 30 seconds for a follow-up. There will be no opening statements, but candidates will make closing remarks.

The two-hour debate will be split into five segments divided by commercial breaks. 

With 20 candidates qualifying for the primary debates in total, the Democratic National Committee divided the first primary debate into two days, with ten candidates debating each night. 

Hosts Savannah Guthrie, Lester Holt, Chuck Todd, Rachel Maddow and José Diaz-Balart will moderate the debates. 

NBC news reported that candidates are timing their remarks to be ready for the short time constraints. 

Former vice president Joe Biden said that "It's a little bit of exaggeration calling it a debate,” he remarked in Iowa earlier this month. “It's like a lightning round."

The first debate will be televised on June 26 and feature Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren, former Rep. Beto O’Rourke, New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker, Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar, Washington Gov. Jay Inslee, former HUD Secretary Julián Castro, Hawaii Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, Ohio Rep. Tim Ryan and former Maryland Rep. John Delaney.


The second debate will occur the following day on June 27 and feature Joe Biden, Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders; California Sen. Kamala Harris; South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete Buttigieg; New York Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand; Colorado Sen. Michael Bennet; former Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper; California Rep. Eric Swalwell; entrepreneur Andrew Yang and self-help author Marianne Williamson.

Both debates will air at 9 p.m. ET via MSNBC, NBC, and Telemundo.

Check out our list of all the 2020 Democratic presidential candidates here

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