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

Image: Carnival Center For The Performing Arts - Grand Opening
An exterior shot at the grand opening of the Carnival Center For The Performing Arts (now known as the Arsht Center for the Performing Arts) in Miami Beach, Florida on Oct. 5, 2006. Copyright Victor Malafronte Getty Images file
Copyright Victor Malafronte Getty Images file
By Alex Seitz-Wald with NBC News Politics
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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.


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.

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 view making the stage as crucial to their overall campaigns.

The Arsht Center is located in the heart of downtown Miami and was designed by renowned architect Cesar 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 30,000 children each year.

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

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