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November Democratic debate to feature 'balanced' number of questions for candidates

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By Dareh Gregorian  with NBC News Politics
Image: Democratic primary debate
Cory Booker, Pete Buttigieg, Bernie Sanders, Joe Biden, Elizabeth Warren and Kamala Harris arrive onstage for the third Democratic primary debate of the 2020 presidential campaign season in Houston, Texas on Sept. 12, 2019.   -   Copyright  Frederic J. Brown AFP - Getty Images

Candidates participating in the fifth Democratic presidential primary debate in Georgia on Nov. 20 will each be asked a balanced number of questions, event hosts MSNBC and The Washington Post announced Wednesday.

The two-hour debate will be held at Tyler Perry Studios in Atlanta, and nine candidates have qualified for the event so far, according to an unofficial NBC News tally.

The hosts announced the format for the event on Wednesday: The debate will be broken up into four segments and will include three commercial breaks. There will be no opening statements.

Candidates will have 75 seconds to answers questions posed to them and 45 seconds for follow-ups at the moderators' discretion. Candidates should be able to respond if they're referred to by name by another candidate, but that will be at the moderators' discretion, the announcement said.

Candidates will have one minute and 15 seconds for closing arguments.

The participating candidates and the podium lineup will be announced at a later date.

The debate features four moderators: Rachel Maddow, host of MSNBC's "The Rachel Maddow Show"; Andrea Mitchell, host of MSNBC's "Andrea Mitchell Reports" and NBC News' chief foreign affairs correspondent; Kristen Welker, NBC News' White House correspondent; and Ashley Parker, a White House reporter for The Washington Post.

The nine candidates who appear to have qualified to date are former Vice President Joe Biden; Sen. Cory Booker, D-N.J.; Mayor Pete Buttigieg of South Bend, Indiana; Sen. Kamala Harris, D-Calif.; Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt.; billionaire activist Tom Steyer; Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass.; entrepreneur Andrew Yang; and Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn.